Sunderland council leader Harry Trueman faces Labour leadership challenge

Councillor Harry Trueman
Councillor Harry Trueman

The political contest to choose the leader of Sunderland’s Labour group is expected to conclude today.

Members of the council’s ruling Labour Party will meet to confirm who will hold the reins following Thursday night’s local elections

Current leader Harry Trueman is vying to keep control of the council he has led since stepping into the shoes of late leader Paul Watson, who died in November after almost a decade in the top job.

However, he faces competition from Coun Graeme Miller, cabinet member for health housing and adult services.

A new council leader must be voted through by councillors of all parties, but as Labour holds the majority on the council, whoever they choose as leader will inevitably take over the reins at the civic centre.

Coun Trueman denied the results in the local elections, which saw his party end the day with five fewer councillors than it started, had left him politically vulnerable.

He added: “I’ve never really been one to promise people anything, what my opposing person promises is down to them, but I’ve got in my mind who I think will make good cabinet members.”

After Saturday’s election to decide the leader and deputy leader of the council, the winner of the contest will invite fellow councillors to become cabinet members.

This process should be finalised by midweek, after which any council members without a position can apply to become chairs of the council’s various panels and committees.

Coun Graeme Miller said: “I threw my hat in the ring weeks ago, but until it’s done I won’t speak about it.

“It wouldn’t be right to talk about internal party matters until it’s done.”

James Harrison

James Harrison , Local Democracy Reporting Service