By-election called following death of Sunderland council leader Paul Watson

The late Councillor Paul Watson, who died in November.
The late Councillor Paul Watson, who died in November.
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A by-election will be held after the death of Sunderland City Council leader Paul Watson.

Councillor Watson had served the Pallion ward as a Labour member on the authority since 1997.

He died aged 63 in November and had been diagnosed with cancer in June 2016.

The council today announced that after the publication of the notice that a vacancy exists in the ward, a request to fill the seat has been received from two electors.

A spokesman said: "Subject to nominations, and in line with the precedent for local elections on a Thursday, an election to fill the ward vacancy has been scheduled for Thursday, February 1, 2018.

"The closing date for candidate nominations is 4pm on Friday January 5, 2018."

The authority has said anyone who has not yet registered to vote can call Electoral Services at Sunderland City Council on (0191) 561 1144 or contact elections@sunderland.gov.uk.

The closing date for registering to vote in this election is Tuesday, January 16, 2018 and applications for a postal vote should be returned by 5pm on Wednesday, January 17, 2018.

Of the remaining seats on the council, Labour holds 65, Conservative has six, there are two Liberal Democrats and one independent member.