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Sunderland Labour councillor suspended pending investigation, party confirms

Councillor Paul Middleton.
Councillor Paul Middleton.

Uncertainty surrounds the status of a Sunderland Labour councillor who has been suspended from the party pending investigation.

Coun Paul Middleton, of Washington South ward, is now listed as an independent candidate on Sunderland City Council’s website and has been removed from several committees.

Chairman of the Sunderland Labour Party, Philip Tye, has confirmed the councillor faces “administrative suspension” by the regional and local Labour parties.

“This has been in place for a number of weeks and that remains the case pending an investigation by the party,” he said.

“We wouldn’t try to hide from the fact that he has been suspended by the party.”

The suspension was made internally on June 15 before being ratified at full council on June 20 – a decision formally removing Coun Middleton from existing committees.

Now the city’s Liberal Democrats are calling for answers.

Liberal Democrat campaigner Carlton West said: “If there is to be an investigation, we demand that it is prompt and not drag on.

“It is imperative that the residents of Washington South should not be left in limbo.”

A council spokesman added: “The city council is aware of the party suspension.”

Coun Middleton has been contacted for comment.

Chris Binding, Local Democracy Reporting Service