Left wing Labour mayor quits with parting shot at Starmer’s broken promises

Jamie Driscoll on being blocked from new role

The North of the Tyne Mayor, Jamie Driscoll, has quit the party to spend the remainder of his term as an independent.

In a letter, published this afternoon, he announced he was quitting the party following Keir Starmer blocking him from the candidate shortlist for North East Mayor, which will subsume Mr Discoll’s current area and would have required him to secure a fresh mandate.

He’s now threatened to stand as a left-wing independent candidate in next May’s election, provided his supporters can raise £25,000 for his fundraiser.

In his resignation letter, Mr Driscoll said Keir Starmer told him in 2020 he would “inspire people to come together”, but has since broken that promise by forcing him out of office.

He also blasted Sir Keir’s other broken pledges since becoming Labour leader three years ago.

READ MORE: Starmer sparks civil war by blocking left-wing mayor from crucial shortlist

“You’ve U-turned on so many promises: £28billion to tackle the climate emergency, free school meals, ending university tuition fees, reversing NHS privatisation; in fact a list too long to repeat in this letter.

“And please stop saying ‘I make no apologies for…’ before you find yourself saying ‘I make no apologies for making no apologies’.”

Mr Driscoll added: “It is not grown-up politics to say Britain is broken, and then claim things are now so difficult we will abandon any plan to fix it”.

“That is mental gymnastics worthy of Olympic gold.”

The mayor claims that since being barred by Sir Keir, he’s received “overwhelming support” and a cry for him to run as an independent.

He says while he needs £150,000 to run a full electoral campaign next year, if he can raise £25,000 by the end of August he’ll announce his candidacy as an independent.

Since publishing his letter and announcing his fundraiser just two hours ago, Mr Driscoll has already hit his £25,000 target.

According to his GoFundMe page, he’s raised £25,948 from 1,200 donors.

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Mr Driscoll recently caused yet another row after appearing alongside film director Ken Loach, Jeremy Corbyn and his wife Laura at the Durham Miners Gala.

Mr Driscoll refused to apologise for taking part in an on-stage interview with Ken Loach in Newcastle this March.

Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves recently said she “might have to agree to differ” when being interviewed by a Guardian journalist who said Mr Loach isn’t antisemitic.

Independents like Ken Livingstone in London and Luther Rahman in Tower Hamlets have previously defeated Labour in mayoral elections.

A Labour spokesperson said: “The Labour Party is delighted that local party members have selected Kim McGuinness as our candidate for the North East Mayoral election next year.”

“With Keir Starmer as leader, the Labour Party is a changed party, relentlessly focussed on delivering for working people, and we make no apologies that Labour candidates are held to the highest standard.

“The Tories have let our region down, and as Labour mayor, Kim will be the strong voice the North East deserves.”

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