Five-way fight for vacant council seat

Sunderland Civic Centre
Sunderland Civic Centre

A vacant seat on Sunderland City Council will be the subject of a five-way battle.

A list of candidates for the Sandhill ward election, scheduled for Thursday, January 12, has been confirmed.

The candidates are: Bryan George Foster (UKIP), Helmut Izaks (Green), Stephen Francis O'Brien (Liberal Democrat), Gary Edward Waller (Labour) and Gavin William Christopher Wilson (Conservative).

The spot became vacant after Jacqui Gallager lost her seat after failing to attend a single meeting for six months, having represented Sandhill on Sunderland City Council since May 2015

Mrs Gallagher was removed on November 12, after last attending a meeting on May 13. Her colleagues declared the seat vacant, after being presented with a report at the November full council meeting.

However, she told the Echo she had a valid sick note covering the absence and that she was unaware that members are automatically disqualified after an absence of six months.

She said: "I’ve gone out of my way to help people all my life, actually, not just doing my councillor stuff."

Anyone in the Sandhill ward who has not yet registered to vote should contact Electoral Services at Sunderland City Council on 0191 561 1144 or elections@sunderland.gov.uk as soon as possible.

The closing date for registering to vote in this election is midnight on Thursday, December 22.

There are 3,235 registered postal voters in Sandhill and postal ballot papers are being delivered by Royal Mail commencing Monday, December 19.