Sunderland councillor involved in social media posts row quits nearly a year after being elected

Lynn Appleby.
Lynn Appleby.
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A city councillor barred from representing the Liberal Democrats after being accused of sharing offensive social media posts has quit.

Lynn Appleby was elected to Sunderland’s Sandhill ward in last year’s (2018) round of local elections.

But this week it has been confirmed she has abandoned her post, with voters to be given the chance to choose a replacement in May’s Sunderland City Council elections.

“I’m pleased she has done it in the right way,” said Coun Niall Hodson, leader of the city council’s opposition Lib Dem group.

“She told the other members in advance and is doing it in a way that’s right for the taxpayer.

“There will be no additional costs [for holding a by-election] because she doesn’t feel it’s fair on the people of Sandhill if she cannot devote her time to them – which I think is reasonable and speaks well of her.

Leader of Sunderland Lib Dems Councillor Niall Hodson.

Leader of Sunderland Lib Dems Councillor Niall Hodson.

“She has been a good councillor, done a lot of case work and leaves on good terms with the Liberal Democrat group.”

Appleby stood for the Lib Dems last year, but following an investigation by her party into allegations she shared offensive posts on social media was suspended from the party.

Despite this she was elected, but later told she would have to sit on the city council ‘without party badge’.

Instead, she joined the newly formed ‘Liberal Democrat and Others’ political grouping.

At the time, the then-newly-elected councillors for Sandhill said she apologised ‘unreservedly’ for the posts, which were shared in 2015.

The decision means voters in the ward will elect two councillors in his year’s local elections, due to be held on Thursday, May 2.

Sunderland City Council has confirmed all candidates will be included on a single ballot paper, with instructions to vote for no more than two of them.

Attempts were made to contact Coun Appleby but she could not be reached for comment.

James Harrison , Local Democracy Reporting Service