TRIBUTES have been paid to a controversial councillor, who has died aged 30.
David Potts died at his home in East Boldon at about 3.15pm yesterday, surrounded by close family.
Political colleagues hailed an “immensely talented” man who once seemed destined for a Westminster career.
He had been recently receiving treatment for cirrhosis of the liver at Newcastle’s Freeman Hospital, caused by heavy drinking.
Coun Potts, who represented Cleadon and East Boldon on South Tyneside Council for UKIP, had revealed his battle with alcoholism in February.
Controversy followed him in and out of council life.
He was named Socialite of the Year by satirical magazine Private Eye, after an apparent Twitter invitation for his constituents to take part in a wives and swingers – W&S – party.
Coun Potts was today praised by leading political figures in the borough.
South Tyneside Council Leader Iain Malcolm said: “David Potts was an immensely talented and highly educated young man who seemed destined for a Westminster career, but whose life took a tragic turn as he battled his alcohol addiction.
“As a young councillor he was robust and challenging in debate and enjoyed the cut and thrust of political life.
“He had a wicked and sometimes mischievous sense of humour which I shall miss.
“A colourful but often controversial figure, his illness was without doubt the cause of some of his more unconventional behaviour, for which he was always remorseful and regretful.”
Cleadon and East Boldon Councillor Jeff Millburn added: “David was an astute, charismatic and intelligent young man who led a colourful political career.
“My heartfelt condolences go out to his family and friends.”
Richard Elvin, chairman of the North East branch of UKIP, said: “We are very saddened and shocked to hear of David’s passing.
“He achieved a lot in only a short time and I’m sure he would’ve gone on to do a lot more.”