New Sunderland Lib Dem councillor to sit ‘without party badge’

Lynn Appleby.
Lynn Appleby.

A newly-elected councillor accused of sharing offensive social media posts will not be allowed to sit with a Liberal Democrat ‘party badge’.

Lynn Appleby won in Sunderland City Council’s Sandhill ward in this month’s local elections – despite being suspended by the party over the allegations.

But following a meeting of the Wearside Liberal Democrats Council Group this week, it has been decided she will ‘sit without party badge in the council’.

However, she will be allowed to join a ‘Liberal Democrat and Others’ political grouping on the council.

Niall Hodson, leader of the Sunderland Lib Dems, said: “The local Lib Dem party feels that this arrangement is the fairest possible in the circumstances, as the material on Facebook was shared prior to our candidate’s membership of the party, and we are satisfied that it does not reflect her views today.

“We do however take the criticism seriously, and recognise that we as a local party need learn and improve.

“I would like us to do better in the future and to that end, all members of our council group will be undertaking diversity and awareness training.”

According to the party, the new Coun Appleby’s suspension from sitting as a Liberal Democrat councillor will be reviewed ‘at some point in the future’.

Her membership was temporarily revoked in April pending investigation into the claims.

By that point however but her name had already been printed on ballot papers as a Liberal Democrat candidate.

The party confirmed at the time it was investigating the candidate over her use of Facebook.

In a statement, she said: “I recognise that it was wrong to share these posts and I apologise unreservedly.”

James Harrison , Local Democracy Reporting Service