General Election 2019: Labour Sunderland Central victor Julie Elliott says party needs 'radical change'

A “disastrous” night for the Labour Party got worse as it was savaged by one of its own re-elected MPs.

Friday, 13th December 2019, 1:42 am
Updated Friday, 13th December 2019, 1:58 am

Julie Elliott became the city’s second MP to hold on to her seat on what was fast becoming a dismal night at the polls for her party.

And after seeing off a close-run challenge from the Conservative Party, she levelled a broadside at opposition bosses and slammed the “toxic” atmosphere on the campaign trail.

“If the exit poll is correct this is a disastrous night for the Labour Party,” she said following the announcement of the result.

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Sunderland Central MP Julie Elliott, left, speaks after retaining her seat.

“The party I have been a member of for 35 years has let the country down by not being good enough to win against this awful Tory government.

“People on the doorstep have said they could not vote for this party.

“They will only come back if we become a party for radical change from the centre left ground and I will play my part in rebuilding this party for the country.”

Elliott held the seat in 2017 with more than half the vote.

But in local elections earlier this year (2019) Labour’s hold across the constituency’s council wards had been slashed to less than a third.

The Liberal Democrats made big gains in May’s local elections but had to satisfy themselves with enough votes for candidate Niall Hodson to claw his deposit back.

The Conservatives also improved their standing, but the 15,372 votes polled by Tory Tom D’Silva, who was at one point rumoured to be in with a chance of stealing the seat, wasn’t enough to beat Elliott’s 18,336.

D’Silva blamed votes taken by the Brexit Party for the failure of he and his colleagues to break through on Wearside.

And he also didn’t rule out returning to Sunderland to fight more elections, although he also admitted he “didn’t know” whether the fact he is not from the area had counted against him.

“We’ve got fantastic council candidates for May 2020,” he said, “I want to support all the candidates in Sunderland and I would love to represent Sunderland in the future, I’ve loved meeting residents and other groups here.”

James Harrison