Hartlepool mayor clinches third term
A former football mascot who promised free bananas to schoolchildren has been elected to serve a third term as Mayor of Hartlepool.
Stuart Drummond was reelected in Hartlepool's vote for a directly elected mayor, with a majority of more than 800 votes.
After beating the Labour candidate into third place he pledged to repay the public for their support, likening politicians to sitting ducks who had lost the public's trust.
The 35-year-old father-of-three paid tribute to his wife for her support, and said being the mayor was the best job in the world.
He said: "The first time I was elected in 2002 a lot of people said it was a fluke; some people said it was a stroke of genius.
"It was a huge achievement to be returned in 2005 with a big majority. I was very, very proud of that but I think to be returned for a third time, especially in these times when anybody who is holding a position in a political office is a sitting duck - who at the moment are there to be shot at because I think the general public has had enough of politicians, to be honest - I think getting returned tonight tops those two times put together.
"I am very, very proud and would like to thank everybody who supported me: the public, the lads who helped me deliver leaflets, even my agent who had three weeks holiday in France just before the election which was very helpful; thank you very much.
"Being the mayor is a massive, massive honour.
"It is not a job I take lightly. It is certainly not a job I am complacent about.
"If anyone thought there might be complacency slipping in then tonight has taught me that cannot be.
"It is the best job in the world."
Mr Drummond first found himself chosen as the town's first elected mayor seven years ago.
After standing as a joke as H'Angus the Monkey, the former Hartlepool United mascot was shocked to find himself overseeing more than 4,000 staff and a £100 million-plus revenue budget.
The former call centre worker defeated established politicians and admitted he had no prior interest in politics.
Hartlepool Labour MP Iain Wright congratulated Mr Drummond and said: "This is part of the backlash against MPs' expenses.
"He fought a good campaign on local issues, he's popular and he's done nothing wrong so it was always going to be tough."
- 1 BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate
- 2 18th century sex toy found in 'toilet of sword fighting school' in Poland
- 3 US? China? India? The 10 biggest economies in 2030 will be...
- 4 'I wish my teacher knew...': Young students share their 'heartbreaking' worries in notes
General Election 2015: David Cameron catching up in polls – but he badly needs a clear lead
South Africa xenophobic attacks: Shops looted and violence on streets of Johannesburg as foreigners are forced to hide in police stations
18th century sex toy found in 'toilet of sword fighting school' in Poland
'I wish my teacher knew...': Young students share their 'heartbreaking' worries in notes
Rebecca Francis accuses Ricky Gervais of using 'influence' to target female hunters after receiving barrage of death threats
The only black face in the Ukip manifesto is on the page about overseas aid
If I’m being racially abused I don’t need a stranger with a saviour complex to rescue me
Ukip is the only main political party to not address LGBT rights in its manifesto
BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate
Religion isn't growing, it is becoming vigorous in its demise, says philosopher AC Grayling
Food banks: One million Britons will soon be using them, according to Trussell Trust
£30000 - £40000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Front-End UI Application ...
£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...
£27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Domestic Service Only Engineers are requ...
£23600 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Employability Service withi...