THE Labour Party has selected its candidate to fight in next year’s mayoral election in Middlesbrough.

Current mayor Ray Mallon, an Independent, has been in the role since 2002, but will not stand in the May, 2015 election.

Labour's candidate will be Dave Budd, who is currently deputy mayor and a leading councillor on Middlesbrough council.

Other candidates who have declared so far are philanthropist Andy Preston and the Green Party’s David Masterman.

Voters opted to keep the elected mayor system in a referendum in September. Labour councillors campaigned for the role to be abolished.

Cllr Budd, a councillor for 20 years, was chosen by Labour Party members from a shortlist of three. Other candidates were Tracy Harvey and Charlie Rooney.

He said: “I am now planning to work hard to convince the people of Middlesbrough that I am the right person to fight for jobs, regeneration and education and to combat inequality in our town.”