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Tuesday, June 18, 2024

‘Controversial’ columnist among Parliamentary candidates in Teesside constituency

Journalist Rod Liddle said many would-be voters were 'disenfranchised' by current political offerings.

Journalist Rod Liddle has been included in the confirmed roster of General Election candidates in the Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland constituency.

London-born Mr Liddle, who grew up in Nunthorpe and went to school in Guisborough, writes for The Sun newspaper whose website describes him as a “columnist who isn’t afraid to shy away from difficult or controversial topics”.

He has been a past editor of the Today programme on Radio 4, also writes for The Sunday Times and is an associate editor of The Spectator magazine.

Mr Liddle, who has also published several books and presented occasional television programmes, recently made a guest appearance on the panel of the BBC’s Question Time programme in Middlesbrough, where he was critical of the Government’s Levelling Up strategy.

The married father-of-three, who lives in Saltburn and is representing the Social Democratic Party, told the Local Democracy Reporting Service that an “awful lot of people felt disenfranchised” and were “sick of the two party system”.

He said: “There is no great enthusiasm for Labour and there is certainly no enthusiasm for the Tories.

“I think these parties are out of date and useless.

“As you can see on the continent, more and more people are turning towards parties which are similar to the social democrats.

“We are left-wing on economics, we want investment in the North of England,  along with higher taxation, and believe in the nationalisation of the utilities and the railways.

“We are traditionalist on social issues, we want to cut migration steeply and believe in supporting the traditional family and have no time for identity politics.”

Mr Liddle, 64, said the area was suffering from under investment and claimed Middlesbrough had been “left to fester”, while also describing a “chronic, terrible problem” with local transport.

He said: “Levelling Up hasn’t worked, the trouble is everything is seen from a Westminster point of view.”

The Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland constituency seat has been held by Conservative Sir Simon Clarke since 2017 with the former minister holding a 11,626 majority.

Other candidates are Labour’s Luke Myer, Liberal Democrat Jemma Joy and the Green Party’s Rowan McLaughlin.

Polling is due to take place on 4 July.

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