Elections in Sunderland: What MP Bridget Phillipson said about the results

Bridget Phillipson, MP for Houghton and Sunderland South.
Bridget Phillipson, MP for Houghton and Sunderland South.

One of Wearside's MPs has spoken of Labour's "disappointing performance" in the Sunderland City Council elections.

Bridget Phillipson, Labour MP for Houghton and Sunderland South, hailed Brexit as the "elephant in the room" - and something she said has played a key part in Labour's performance at the polls.

Labour lost 10 councillors in the election - but still remains in overall control of the local authority.

Ukip gained three seats in the results, with the Green Party taking control in Washington South.

The Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives also celebrated victories.

Ms Phillipson is a leading supporter of the People's Vote campaign, an initiative calling for a public vote on the final Brexit deal between the United Kingdom and the European Union.

She said places like Sunderland are often "caricatured" for voting leave - and that the "majority" of Labour voters in the city would support calls for a People's vote.

She continued: “Council elections are always about local issues but Brexit was the elephant in the room and no one can deny it played a key part in Labour’s disappointing performance last night.

“In my city of Sunderland, there was a big swing against us to the Liberal Democrats and the Greens.

Related content: Sunderland City Council elections 2019 - the results in full

“Too often places that voted for Brexit back in 2016 like Sunderland get caricatured by the media as if everyone voted Leave. But the majority of Labour voters now want a People’s Vote on Brexit and would vote to stay in the EU given the chance.

“I fear Labour’s position has been too hesitant and lacking in clarity over the past few months, depressing support among our voters at a time when they expect strength and leadership from my party rather than fudge.”