Sunderland Labour leader accuses city’s Lib Dems of ‘abandoning’ voters as councillor quits

The Liberal Democrats in Sunderland have been accused of letting the public down after one of their councillors quit after less than a year in the role.

Wednesday, 20th March 2019, 15:02 pm
Updated Wednesday, 20th March 2019, 18:48 pm
Councillor Graeme Miller.

Lynn Appleby was elected to represent Sunderland City Council’s Sandhill ward in May last year (2018) – despite being suspended from the party at the time over allegations she shared offensive posts on Facebook.

This week it was confirmed she had resigned from the council, with her seat due to be contested at the next round of local elections on May 2.

Coun Graeme Miller, leader of the city council’s ruling Labour Group, said: “The Lib Dems have a track record of letting down those who vote them in.

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“You only have to cast your mind back to 2010, to see – on a national stage – how this self-serving party put itself first and the public second, to prop up a Tory Government that has since been on a seemingly endless rampage of cuts and austerity, inflicting misery on millions of people the length and breadth of the country.

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Read more: Sunderland councillor quits after row over sharing offensive posts on social media

“Now, closer to home, we are seeing this party abandon those who voted for them, and turn their back on communities here in Sunderland.

Lynn Appleby.

“Unfortunately, those wards are seeing first-hand how weak and ineffective the Lib Dems actually are – they are headline hunters, who have a lot to say, but sadly, do not carry through with the action needed to drive positive change in the community.”

After her election last year, Appleby was barred from representing the Liberal Democrat party on the city council.

Instead, she joined by the newly-formed ‘Liberal Democrat and Others’ political group.

At the time, she said she apologised ‘unreservedly’ for the posts, which were shared in 2015.

Coun Appleby’s decision means voters in the ward will elect two councillors in his year’s local elections.

Coun Appleby hashas been contacted for comment.

Coun Niall Hodson, of the Lib-Dems, replied: “It is not my place to comment on Lynn’s personal circumstances, but suffice to say Graeme Miller’s words are typically vindictive and insensitive.

“In recent years the Sunderland Labour group has had councillors removed for non-attendance, suspended for benefit fraud and abusing the expenses system.”

“He currently has a cabinet member suspended after a post online about anti-Semitism. He should put his own house in order before turning his attention to other parties.”

James Harrison , Local Democracy Reporting Service