James Ian Mearns (born 21 April 1957) is the Member of Parliament (MP) for Gateshead. He was first elected at the 2010 general election.
In the 1980s Mearns was a member and Northern Regional Chair of the Labour Party Young Socialists, and a supporter of the Militant Tendency. He ceased being a supporter of the group before becoming a Gateshead Councillor in 1983, serving as a Councillor for the Saltwell ward until 2010. During this period he chaired Gateshead Council's Education Committee and in the Council Cabinet before becoming Deputy Leader of the Council in 2002.
Mearns was elected to Parliament in 2010 with a majority of 12,549, in a Gateshead seat created by boundary changes. Along with fellow new North Eastern MPs Ian Lavery and Grahame Morris, Mearns is perceived to be on the left-wing of the Labour party. He was one of 16 signatories of an open letter to Edward Miliband in January 2015 calling on the party to commit to oppose further austerity, take rail franchises back into public ownership and strengthen collective bargaining arrangements.
In Parliament he has served on the Education Select Committee and the Backbench Business Committee in the 2010–2015 Parliament. He was a member of the bill committee for HS2, which he has criticised for treating residents of the north east and other regions not served by the line as "lesser citizens".
On 19 June 2015, he was elected as the Chairman of the Backbench Business Select Committee.<