Page last updated at 03:27 GMT, Friday, 5 June 2009 04:27 UK

Hartlepool Mayor wins third term

Stuart Drummond
Stuart Drummond won a third term as mayor with a reduced majority

Hartlepool has returned Stuart Drummond as elected mayor, making him the first in Britain to win a third term.

The independent candidate, who originally stood as a joke as Hartlepool FC mascot, H'angus the Monkey, won by 844 votes.

He beat off 12 rivals, many of them also independents, including a former athlete and a businessman, as well as members of the main political parties.

Turnout was 31.24% with 21,487 people casting their votes.

Mr Drummond, 35, won on the second count against his nearest rival Ian Cameron, the boss of a local taxi firm and an independent candidate.

'Sitting duck'

After being elected, Mr Drummond thanked the people of Hartlepool, but warned there would be big challenges ahead in the next four years.

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 - I think getting returned tonight tops those two times put together."

He added: "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. It is the best job in the world."

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