Former football Stan Collymore says that UKIP is "not the answer" for Sunderland despite the party winning three seats at last night's city council elections.
UKIP took three seats in the city just a year after it failed to field one single candidate in the 2018 council elections.
After years in the doldrums following the Brexit referendum, the party has been back with a vengeance nationally following delays over the UK’s withdrawal from the EU and Theresa May’s failure to get her deal to leave through Parliament.
In June 2016's EU Referendum Sunderland voted 60% in favour of leaving the EU.
UKIP won seats in the St Anne’s, Redhill and Ryhope wards on Thursday night.
It was a bad night for the ruling Labour party, which lost 10 councillors in the vote.
Former Nottingham Forest, Liverpool and Aston Village forward Collymore, who now works as a pundit tweeted: "Always had a soft spot for Sunderland as I was lucky enough as a player to be clapped off the pitch twice at Roker.
"Working class people, genuine people.
"But UKIP isn't the answer, there or anywhere else. Incredibly sad when people vote for that tripe in such big numbers."
Also in Sunderland, the Green Party gained their first-ever council seat in the North East, toppling Labour in Washington South.
And the Conservatives were also successful, gaining an extra four seats.
The Liberal Democrats managed a double win in Sandhill, which was electing two councillors following the resignation of Lynn Appleby earlier in March, less than a year after she was first elected.
The party also won in Millfield and Doxford.