LABOUR retained its strong grip on the reins of power in Sunderland tonight – despite seeing their mayor voted out.
Labour took 21 of the 25 seats available, the Conservatives three and independents one as Mayor Bob Heron lost his Copt Hill seat to independent Anthony Allen.
Despite UKIP leader Nigel Farage promising an “earthquake,” his party failed to gain a single seat in Sunderland.
The anti-European party did give Labour and Conservatives a shock, however, coming second in almost all seats where they fielded a candidate.
Two former prominent Tory councillors also returned to politics. Councillor Michael Dixon and Councillor Shirley Leadbitter both lost their seats to Labour in previous councillor elections.
Councillor Leadbitter won back a seat in St Peter’s from Labour’s Steven Bonallie, and Councillor Dixon – who formerly represented St Chad’s – was returned for his home ward of St Michael’s.
The Lib Dems saw their vote collapse in the city, trailing behind with fewer than 100 votes in some wards.
Turnout was also low, with less than a third of people – 33 per cent – voting.