Tory mayor says he ‘forgot’ to wear blue rosette during local elections

The winning Tory candidate in the Tees Valley mayor election claimed he “forgot” his blue rosette as he celebrated victory on Friday 3 May.

Ben Houchen has denied “trying to pretend” he was not Conservative during his mayoral election campaign, despite saying he could “absolutely” work with Sir Keir Starmer if the Labour leader becomes prime minister.

“People know round here I’m a Conservative,” he told Sky News when asked about apparent efforts to distance himself from the Tory Party brand and instead run on a highly personal platform.

Lord Houchen was the only candidate on stage not to wear a party rosette at the Tees Valley count, saying he “forgot” it.