The 10 Sunderland councillors who are not standing in the May election
Warm ups for May’s local elections have started with cross party tributes to councillors planning to step down on polling day.
Voters are scheduled to cast their ballots on Thursday, May 6, with a total of 29 seats on Sunderland City Council up for grabs.
Of these, at least 10 representatives have already announced their decision not to stand again, with high profile departures including two recent cabinet members and the former leader of the city’s Conservative opposition group, who was praised by his chief rival, Labour council leader Graeme Miller
“Whether you’re Labour or Conservative makes no difference,” he said, “[standing] to be elected is a brave act in itself.
“Robert and I have known each other for some time, he’s been the leader of the majority party in opposition when they were losing councillors, down to the ‘super six’, but because of his hard work he kept them as a group during difficult times.
“The group is now flourishing because of the work he did to stabilise them [and people] need to understand that is hard work.
“Enjoy your retirement and I genuinely will miss all of you.”
Cllr Miller was speaking at last month’s (March 24) meeting of the full city council, which was held by videolink and broadcast via YouTube.
At least one seat in all of Wearside’s 25 wards will be contested on polling day, with double elections in three.
In four wards, vacancies have been left by representatives who have either quit the local authority early or, as in the case of former cabinet member and Shiney Row councillor Geoff Walker, sadly died while in office.
Of the ten councilors stepping down, the longest serving is Shiney Row’s Anne Lawson, who was originally elected in 1998.
They have also all served a year longer than they expected to, after the local elections scheduled for last year (2020) were postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The councillor due to stand down in May are:
Anne Lawson (Labour – Shiny Row) Robert Oliver (Conservative – St Michael’s) Amy Wilson (Labour – Pallion) Bob Francis (Conservative – Fulwell) John Kelly (Labour – Washington North) Bernard Scaplehorn (Labour – Washington West) Ronny Davison (Labour Red Hill) Paula Hunt (Labour – Ryhope) Julia Jackson (Labour – St Peter’s) Christine Marshall (Labour – Doxford)