Why councillors elected onto Sunderland City Council on May 6 will serve shorter than usual terms

Voters in Sunderland will have a shorter wait than usual to decide whether the latest crop of city councillors deserve to be re-elected.

Friday, 14th May 2021, 4:28 pm
Three councillors elected last week will serve less of a term than the other 25.
Three councillors elected last week will serve less of a term than the other 25.

Local elections held last week (Thursday, May 6) should have been held last year (2020), but had to be delayed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

And while this meant many councillors served an extra year in post than originally intended, those who won out in the latest round of polls will serve just three years, rather than the usual four-year term, to ensure the election cycle returns to normal by 2024.

This applies to 25 of the 28 councillors elected to Sunderland City Council last week – one in each of Wearside’s wards.

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However, three wards held double elections after serving councillors quit their term early or died, as happened in Shiney Row.

This means that three councillors who polled the second highest number of votes in those wards now represent what could be considered ‘by-election seats’ and will face re-election even sooner.

These are:

Copt Hill

Labour’s Kevin Johnston, who was defending his seat, topped polling and was elected to a three-year term.

Tracey Dodds, also Labour, was elected to the seat vacated by Jack Cunningham and will be up for re-election next year (2022).

Shiney Row

Labour’s Katherine Mason-Gage topped polling and was elected to a three-year term.

David Snowdon, also Labour and previously councillor for Washington East, was elected to the seat left vacant by the death of incumbent Geoffrey Walker and will be up for re-election in 2023.

Washington South

Conservative Paul Donaghy topped polling and was elected to a three-year term.

Labour’s Louise Farthing, city council cabinet member for children, learning and skills, who was defending her seat, received the second highest number of votes to take over the seat vacated by former Green councillor Dom Armstrong and will be up for re-election in 2023.

* In Houghton, Labour’s John Price won the seat vacated early by Alex Scullion, but as the election fell at what would otherwise have been end of its usual election cycle, Cllr Price will serve a three-year term.

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