Tyne & Wear

Labour retains control of five North East councils

Bob Heron Image copyright BBC news grab
Image caption Sunderland mayor Bob Heron lost his seat

Labour has retained control of five of its councils in the North East.

In Sunderland, the party won 21 of the 25 seats, but mayor Bob Heron lost his to Independent Anthony Allen. The Conservatives also took a Labour seat.

Gateshead Borough Council remained unchanged with Labour holding 18 seats and the Liberal Democrats four.

Labour held North Tyneside with 44 seats, took 17 out of 18 on South Tyneside and kept control in Newcastle with 52 seats.

In South Tyneside, UKIP lost a previously-held seat. It failed to take any seats in Sunderland but came second in 16 wards and the same position in nine Newcastle wards, 14 in South Tyneside, nine in North Tyneside and 13 in Gateshead.

'Quite stunned'

UKIP chairman Steve Crowther described this result as "extremely encouraging".

"It's not somewhere where we have had a strong performance before, in the North East - an area that we are looking to build," he said.

It is not known what will happen to the Sunderland mayoral post as it is mainly ceremonial and the one-year term was due to end soon.

Mr Heron said he was "quite stunned" at the result.

"However, we've always had close elections in the Copt Hill ward, so I knew it was one of those things which would have to go right up to the wire," he said.

In North Tyneside, the Conservatives now have 12 seats and the Liberal Democrats four.

South Tyneside Council will now be made up of 49 Labour councillors, three Independents, one Conservative and one UKIP.

In Newcastle, there was one gain each for Labour and the Liberal Democrats and two losses for the Liberal Democrats.

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