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Meet the youngest ever councillor elected in Sunderland

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On a disappointing night for Labour in Sunderland, one of the few success stories for the party also ended up being a record breaker.

Not only did Jack Cunningham mange to oust independent councillor Anthony Allen in Copt Hill, in doing so he also became the youngest ever member of Sunderland City Council.

And the 20-year-old, a politics and sociology student at Sunderland University, hope he can set a trend for more young people to enter local politics.

Reflecting on his victory, he said: “I think it’s been a very good night in Copt Hill, gaining a seat from an independent, which is a seat we’ve traditionally not been able to win in the past.

“People know the Labour Party in Copt Hill is working for them and that means we’ve had a justified result tonight.”

He added: “I’m feeling quite excited, I’m feeling very enthusiastic.

“I think I’ve got a lot of youth and energy to bring to the council, which I want to do, and I think there’s a lot of issues in copt Hill which I want to take forward.”

The new Coun Cunningham, who joined the Labour Party aged just 14, says he thinks the sight of a ‘young man … full of fresh ideas and enthusiasm’ was an important factor in swinging to the ruling group.

Bridget Phillipson, MP for the Houghton and Sunderland South parliamentary constituency, which includes the copt Hill ward, said: “Jack’s enthusiasm and hard work was evident throughout his campaigning.

“I’m delighted with the result in Copt Hill and I know Jack will represent the ward with energy, fresh ideas and a strong voice.”

James Harrison

James Harrison , Local Democracy Reporting Service