Deputy leader 'removed' and replacement appointed in reshuffle at Sunderland City Council
The deputy leader of Sunderland City Council has been replaced in changes to the authority’s top team of senior councillors.
The council’s ruling Labour Group confirmed on Friday, August 21, that Cllr Michael Mordey had been ‘removed’ from the council’s second-most senior position.
He has been replaced by cabinet secretary Cllr Paul Stewart following a reshuffle of the local authority’s cabinet on an interim basis, until a more formal process to choose a successor can be completed.
Cllr Stewart will now serve as second in command to council leader Cllr Graeme Miller.
Chairman of Sunderland’s Labour Group, Cllr Phil Tye, said: “I was notified on Wednesday that the leader had had a cabinet reshuffle and as a result, Cllr Michael Mordey has been removed as the deputy leader of the council.
“As an interim measure, the leader has put Cllr Paul Stewart in that position until May next year, subject to the standard Annual General Meeting of the Labour Party.”
The new deputy leader and Redhill ward representative Cllr Stewart was first elected to the council in 1990. His existing role of cabinet secretary is one of the three most senior elected positions at the council.
Cllr Mordey was first elected to serve the Hendon ward in 2008 and became deputy leader in 2018 after four years as cabinet member for City Services.
Earlier this year, the cabinet responsibilities of environment and transport were folded into his portfolio after Cllr Amy Wilson stepped down from the executive panel. Cllr Wilson had been due to step down as a councillor altogether in May’s scheduled elections, which did not go ahead due to the pandemic.
It is not certain whether Cllr Mordey will continue in any other senior role going forward.
Cllr Mordey was also expected to defend his Hendon seat in May – however this was stalled due to the Government’s decision to postpone local government elections until 2021 due to the coronavirus crisis.
When approached about the cabinet reshuffle, the councillor said he would “not be commenting at the moment.”
Council leader Graeme Miller could not be contacted for comment at the time of writing.