Labour insists it is ‘stopping the rot’ in Sunderland following ‘stalemate’ city council elections

Labour Party chiefs in Sunderland started election night with a victory and ended next year’s poll already in their sights.

By Nic Marko
Friday, 6th May 2022, 4:10 pm

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One vacancy, in the Copt Hill ward remains, currently held by Labour but will be contested at a later date following the death of a candidate.

The leading party started the night positively, with the first declaration of the night announcing its hold of the Silksworth ward through Phil Tye, a member of the council since 2006.

Sunderland Council leader Graeme Miller gives a media interview as he retains his seat with Washington South ward following the Sunderland City Council local elections

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Cllr Tye secured success with 1,618 ballots, ahead of Conservative Party candidate Jack Simm on 923, in a ward which Labour held by just 47 votes last year,

Cllr Tye claimed the success was a result of a combination of his community work and wider political issues, adding he received support from people who “never voted Labour in their life”.

He said: “There’s definitely a contribution of the stuff locally I do in the ward and all the work with Youth Almighty, and who [else] goes litter picking every Sunday in the park and doesn’t shout about it?

Silksworth councillor Phil Tye

“I don’t have Facebook, I don’t use a social media presence, but what I do people see it and that’s clearly what matters.

“But then the people I wouldn’t expect to support us in other parts of the ward have been quite clear that the issues affecting them most are cost of living, it’s absolutely crippling them.”

He predicted his result would “set the tone for the night” for Labour, adding he was confident of a positive night for the party – although it was branded a “stalemate” by Conservative leader Antony Mullen.

By the early hours of Friday morning, Labour’s Graeme Miller, the leader of the council, said he was “delighted” after the party secured holds in 15 of the 16 seats it was defending, “stopping the rot” after significant losses in recent years.

He added: “Next year [in the local elections] there’s a lot more opposition councillors up and we’ll be on the attack, and I fully expect to see that in wards where we had a big lift in our vote tonight, we will take those wards next year.”