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LOCAL ELECTIONS: RAY MALLON WALKS IT IN MIDDLESBROUGH

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By LGC deputy editor Emma Parsons in Middlesbrough ...
By LGC deputy editor Emma Parsons in Middlesbrough

From the moment Ray Mallon walked into the count he had the air of the first elected mayor of Middlesbrough and to all intents and purposes he was - just a glance at the ballot papers as they were being counted showed he was going to win by a landslide. His nearest rival, Labour's Sylvia Connolly, had resigned herself to her defeat early on, calling it a 'sad day for Middlesbrough' and saying that Mr Mallon had 'managed to pull the wool over the eyes of a lot of people.'

The town hall was littered with an unprecedented number of news organisations and even Peter Mandelson popped in on his way from that other farcical Labour defeat in Hartlepool.

When it came, the size of Mr Mallon's majority was surprising. His acceptance speech was peppered with heckles and his 'enemies' did not disguise their disgust. But to them he had only one message - get on board or get out.

It is clear he will be a tough guy to work for, what is not clear is whether he can do the job.

Speaking after his election Mr Mallon indicated that councillors and 'the political establishment' must do their jobs properly, reports Robert Hedley.

The controversial pioneer of his version of 'zero tolerance' in Britain, gaining him the sobrique of 'Robocop' in the press, used his acceptance speech to attack the record of politicians in Middlesbrough.

'There are some councillors in this town who are arrogant and who do not give one jot about the public; and I absolutely give you a cast iron guarantee [that] every single councillor in this town will do his or her job properly', he declared.

Mr Mallon got 26,362 votes - ahead of Sylvia Connolly, deputy leader of Labour's controlling group on Middlesbrough BC, on 9,653.

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