How a night of drama unfolded at the Sunderland City Council elections 2019

A night of firsts at the polls saw the first Green and UKIP members elected to Sunderland City Council.

Friday, 3rd May 2019, 2:30 pm
Updated Friday, 3rd May 2019, 2:36 pm

A difficult time in local elections across England for the Labour Party saw the city’s ruling group finish the campaign nine councillors poorer than when they started.

And although they remain in charge, the civic centre chiefs have woken to find their grip on power weakened.

Labour started the night well, holding Silksworth, Washington North and Hendon.

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But, perhaps in a sign of things to come, were run fairly close by UKIP, which was runner-up in all three.

The euosceptics then turned St Anne’s from red to purple with their first victory of the night.

The Conservatives followed with a win in St Chad’s, the seat which should have been defended by former mayor Stuart Porthouse, before he was suspended by the Labour Party and prevented from standing as a candidate due to complaints about a social media post.

Labour then went on another good run, stringing together a series on victories in Copt Hill, Washington Central and Washington East.

The Liberal Democrats had been struggling to keep their heads above water until this point, but flipped Doxford from the ruling party to chalk up their first win of the night.

Labour held Houghton in the face of another UKIP onslaught, before suffering another loss to the Lib Dems in Millfield.

In St Michael’s ward, the veteran Conservative Peter Wood held on comfortably, before switching St Peter’s from red to blue.

Labour then held on in Shiney Row and Southwick, but suffered the biggest shock of the night in Washington South, which the Greens seized by just three votes to make Dom Armstrong the party’s first ever North East councillor.

Later in the night he gained a second colleague in the region with the election of David Francis in South Tyneside.

Castle ward proved a fortress of sorts for Labour, which held on by about 160 votes, but was not as strong as Pallion remained for the Liberal Democrats.

Martin Haswell held the seat of late council leader Paul Watson, which he won in a by-election following his death, by a landslide.

UKIP then scored another seat, taking Redhill from Labour, before another former council leader, Harry Trueman, showed his mettle with a convincing win in Washington West.

But the Conservatives then turned Barnes and Fulwell from red to blue in quick succession.

Labour held Hetton, but lost Ryhope to UKIP, before the Lib Dems claimed both seats in the election’s big prize, the double election in Sandhill.


Ward declarations in order:

Lab HOLD Silksworth

Lab HOLD Washington North

Lab HOLD Hendon

UKIP TAKE St Anne’s from Labour

Cons TAKE St Chad’s from Labour

Lab HOLD Copt Hill

Lab HOLD Washington Central

Lab HOLD Washington East

Lib Dems TAKE Doxford from Labour

Lab HOLD Houghton

Lib Dems TAKE Millfield from Labour

Cons HOLD St Michael’s

Cons TAKE St Peter’s from Labour (Barry Curran)

Lab HOLD Shiney Row

Lab HOLD Southwick

Greens TAKE Washington South from Labour

Lab HOLD Castle

Lib Dems HOLD Pallion

UKIP TAKE Redhill from Labour

Lab HOLD Washington West

Cons TAKE Barnes from Labour

Cons TAKE Fulwell from Labour

Lab HOLD Hetton

UKIP TAKE Ryhope from Labour

Lib Dems HOLD Sandhill (two council seats up for election)


Seats before and after poll (two ward vacancies meant there were only 73 councillors out of a possible 75 when polls opened):

Labour: 60 – 51 – -9

Conservative: 8 – 12 – +4

Lib Dems: 5 – 8 – +3

UKIP: 0 – 3 – +£

Greens: 0 – 1 – +1


James Harrison, Local Democracy Reporting Service