Conservative leader in Sunderland says Labour’s dominance in city could be ended
Opposition leaders have predicted Labour’s dominance in Sunderland could be ended within 12 months.
A bruising round of local elections has brought further losses for Wearside’s ruling party, cutting its majority in the city council chamber from 48 down to 42.
And while the polls’ big winner, Conservative opposition leader Antony Mullen, has admitted previous talk of a coalition to oust the red group from office may have been premature, it now looks a more realistic possibility, if not ‘quite likely’.
“I set high aspirations to encourage voters to think it was within grasp – if this is recreated next year the Labour Party will have lost control of the council,” he said.
“Labour has lost a significant number of councillors and it puts us in a really good position as opposition to stop them having their own way all the time.
“I’m not sure I will become the leader of the council, that will depend on things like a coalition deal and whether my ward decides it wants me back.
“But I do think next year we will be in a position of ‘no overall control’ – in fact I think it’s quite likely.”
Cllr Mullen was speaking early this morning (Friday, May 7), following the conclusion of counting for this year’s (2021) round of local elections to Sunderland City Council.
At the final tally, the Tories had gained six seats at the expense of Labour and the Green Party, taking their total to 18.
The Liberal Democrats also fared well, increasing their standing to 12 councillors.
Among the key victories for both parties on the night were the Conservative removal of Labour cabinet member Rebecca Atkinson, in Barnes.
The big Lib Dem scalp of the night was former deputy council leader Michael Mordey, in Hendon.
Cllr Mullen claimed his party’s showing had been helped by a perceived failure by the council to tackle issues such as rats and fly-tipping.
Council leader Graeme Miller however the collapse of the UKIP vote and a ‘vaccine bounce’ had also been key factors, while also promising he would steam ahead with the city’s regeneration plans.