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Use your Vote: MAYORAL ELECTIONS 2024

Updated: 1 day ago

<<2024 is a bumper year to use our democratic power to shape the future. Our four webpages cover climate issues, key dates and our options for who to vote for. Do scroll down, as they're updated regularly. And keep us in touch (contact@climateactionnewcastle.com) with new developments, queries and info. >>


As well as this Mayoral Election Day "Use Your Vote" page, check out:

  • Local Election Day: Thursday 2 May 2024 - details here

  • General Election: 2 May now ruled out; may be any date to early 2025. Details here.

  • Summary of key info on all three elections - details here


HUSTINGS DATES & REPORTS:

BBC TV Hustings: link to full recording here

Transport 5 March Newcastle University: report here

Durham University 4 March hustings: report here

The Million Women and Girls campaign 13 March: report here Older Voices 23 March, for Elders Council members. Recording broadcast on Nova Radio 24 March, link will be added here

  • Climate Hustings:

    • Alnwick: 3 April (St James church hall): here's a Facebook screening and also a report by QT (NB new NE subscription service) here

    • Newcastle: 9 April (One Strawberry Lane, by St James' Park) - link here to register to join the audience, or send your questions in advance. Info will be added soon on how to watch online. More event details here.

    • Durham City: 17 April 6.30pm  (Elvet Methodist Church, 8 Old Elvet Durham DH1 3HL Book on Eventbrite (or can turn up on the night). All candidates are asked: Using the power accorded to you as Mayor, how would you set about reducing the CO2 emissions in the North East that are needed to mitigate the climate emergency; and how would you propose to tackle the biodiversity crisis? 

  • Mayoral Assembly: Mon 22 April 6pm-8pm. Tyne Theatre, Newcastle. (Organiser: Tyne & Wear Citizens - will put its Questions to candidates). Info here.

  • Education Hustings: Tues 23 April 6pm-8pm. (Northumbria University) - info here.


ALL-IMPORTANT DATES TO ENSURE YOU WILL HAVE A VOTE ON 2 MAY

  • Deadline to register to vote: Tuesday 16 April 2024

  • Deadline to apply for a postal vote: 5pm Wednesday 17 April 2024

  • Deadline to apply for a proxy vote: 5pm Wednesday 24 April 2024


WHY MAYORAL ELECTIONS ON 2 MAY MATTER!

This year's Mayoral elections are for an enlarged authority covering North and South of the Tyne - its budget will be £6 billion. This local newspaper report explains the background here, and this blog explains why transport and the regional economy are crucial issues.

The main powers of this new role are: Transport; Regional Economy/Employment/Adult Skills; Housing/Regeneration/Infrastructure; Energy/Net Zero; Digital; Governance; Culture/Heritage/Tourism; Other. Below are details of candidates to be our next Mayor. Our local, Mayoral and national representatives have to act more quickly to switch to a sustainable future for us all. More info here and here.


Mayoral Elections: YOUR CANDIDATES

  • Conservative Party: info here on Guy Renner-Thompson (email here)

  • Green Party: info here on Andrew Gray (email here)

  • Independent candidate: info here on Jamie Driscoll (email here)

  • Labour Party: info here on Kim McGuiness (email here)

  • Liberal Democrats: info here on Dr Aidan King (email here)

  • Reform Party: info here on Paul Donaghy (email here)


THIS GUIDE HELPS YOU TO HAVE A VOICE:

  • Sign up to be a "Climate Voter": info here on Greenpeace campaign.

  • Contact your candidates: Ways to get in touch are listed below.

  • Quiz the candidates - see our suggested questions below (and send us your ideas to add to them!

  • Make your vote count!


Mayoral Elections: HOW TO FIND OUT MORE ABOUT YOUR CANDIDATES:

  • Election literature: many households receive information on candidates through newsletters delivered to the house

  • Some candidates take part in Hustings (list above) – let us know if you attend any and whether you asked about climate change (and what the answers were!)

  • Local news services (TV, Radio, Newspapers, Online websites) will conduct interviews and analysis - these are worth checking and discussing with others.


INFO TO FIND OUT YOUR CANDIDATES' VIEWS ON CLIMATE BREAKDOWN ISSUES

Below is a list of supporter ideas for questions to put to candidates. To share more ideas, use "Lets' Chat" (right) or the message form (below)


  • Clean air and improving public transport – "Air quality is especially poor close to schools and major roads, affecting vulnerable people (particularly children), but bus and Metro usage has fallen over recent years. What will you do to boost use of public transport, reduce use of cars and improve air quality?"

  • Protecting our green spaces – "Local councils have given the go-ahead to housing that threatens wildlife and plants in precious green spaces. How can the Mayor reverse plummeting wildlife numbers and protect our natural environment?"

  • Developing a more sustainable regional economy and infrastructure – "How will the council help reduce the emissions linked to employment, and develop investment and skills linked to sustainable green jobs?"

  • Fossil fuel investment: our taxes are used by the local council's pension scheme to invest more than £340m a year in oil, gas and coal (Tyne & Wear Pension Fund is used by the Mayoral authority as well as six local councils and more than 300 local employers)

  • Ask candidates who are standing to sign the divestment pledge: 

“If elected, I will do all I can to ensure the council pension fund ends investment in fossil fuels within the next five years and invests in a just transition to a zero-carbon economy.” 

Please provide them this link to complete the required form.

Please forward any responses you receive (positive or negative) to divest.TW@assembly.org.uk so that we and the Divest Tyne & Wear campaign group can publicise the results of your lobbying. We want as many voters as possible to see who has supported the pledge and who has not.


HOW OUR LOCAL COUNCILS HAVE ACTED (OR NOT!) ON FOSSIL FUEL INVESTMENT

Tell your candidates: Act on fossil fuel investment by Tyne & Wear Pension Fund

  • Please tell your council and Mayoral candidates that you don't want your money to fuel climate breakdown and harm our futures. Call on them to tell Tyne & Wear Pension to reduce and remove its fossil fuel investment.

  • This money comes from our pockets - from local council tax payments and pension contributions. The forthcoming elections are a rare chance for local people to hold decision makers to account.

  • The Tyne & Wear Pension Fund has one of the biggest investments in fossil fuels of all UK council schemes, and invests above the average.

A year ago, for the UK Day of Action on Divestment, the Divest Tyne & Wear campaign delivered Letters to the Leaders of six local authorities that run the scheme. This is how they've responded - we hope this will help you when deciding what to request from your candidates and how you will vote.

  • Gateshead (Labour-run): led the way, with the first challenge to Tyne & Wear PF over its investment plans (supported by Lib Dems who seconded the motion)

  • North Tyneside (Labour-run): also took a stand and requested change

  • Newcastle (Labour-run): dialogue with Leader, and pension fund representative has regularly queried and challenged specific investments and approaches

  • Sunderland (Labour-run): positive responses, close interest in the issues

  • Northumberland (Conservative-run): dialogue with Leader and others, taken up small number of practical issues about public involvement with pension fund, ruling Conservative group opted to abstain (not oppose or support) a motion to request pension fund divestment 

  • South Tyneside (Labour-run): no responses of any kind - Leader has not replied to letters, has not engaged in discussion about future welfare of local residents or workforce and the link between fossil fuel investment and accelerating climate breakdown. Of its six representatives, only one - David Herbert (Green Party) - has regularly queried details of the fossil fuel investment.

  • In addition, of local councils not involved in running the pension scheme, Hexham Council has called for divestment - it would be great if other local councils could be urged to do the same.

The Divest Tyne & Wear campaign is happy to provide more info to supporters who wish to raise any of these points with candidates ahead of the 2 May elections. This campaign website has more info, including the sums contributed by each council to Tyne & Wear Pension Fund.


ANY QUESTIONS ABOUT MAKING SURE YOU CAN USE YOUR VOTE?

Remember: 2024 is the SECOND time we voters will be asked for ID cards. More info here.


NEWCASTLE: phone: 0191 278 7878, email: elections@newcastle.gov.uk, webpage: here

GATESHEAD: phone: 0191 433 7001, email: electoralregistration@gateshead.gov.uk, webpage: here

NORTH TYNESIDE: phone: 0191 643 4270, email: elections@northtyneside.gov.uk, webpage: hereSOUTH TYNESIDE: phone: 0191 424 7230, email: elections@southtyneside.gov.uk, webpage: hereSUNDERLAND: phone: 0191 520 5550, email: elections@sunderland.gov.uk, webpage: here

NORTHUMBERLAND: Elections Office - phone: 01670 624811 email: Elections@northumberland.gov.uk webpage: https://www.northumberland.gov.uk/elections.aspx


TIMES WHEN YOU CAN VOTE ON ELECTION DAY

Times to vote at polling station: 7am to 10pm


AND AFTER ALL YOUR EFFORTS TO GIVE CLIMATE ISSUES A VOICE BEFORE THE ELECTIONS, AND MAKE YOUR VOTE COUNT, PLEASE DON'T STOP LOBBYING AFTER THE ELECTIONS HAVE BEEN AND GONE!

It's still valuable to ask your Local Councillors to sign the Councillor Divestment Pledge - find out their views well in advance of the next election! The UK Divest campaigning group is happy to help you track down your councillor and send the message. https://www.divest.org.uk/act-now/ 

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