Tees

Redcar and Cleveland council leader George Dunning resigns

George Dunning
Image caption George Dunning had been leader of the council since 2007

The leader of a north-east England council dogged by party infighting has stepped down.

George Dunning resigned from the local Labour party in Redcar and Cleveland last week and has resigned as council leader ahead of a motion of no confidence.

Eleven councillors resigned from the party last week in support of Mr Dunning.

Mary Lanigan, leader of the council's independent group, has taken his place.

Labour has lost control of the council as a result of the turmoil and a coalition of independents and Liberal Democrats has taken over.

Mr Dunning announced his resignation at a full council meeting at which councillors were due to hear a motion of no confidence in the leader.

The BBC recently revealed that an internal Labour report found the local group was "dysfunctional" with "serious failings" and allegations of bullying and physical intimidation.

Mr Dunning's deputy Sheelagh Clarke was deselected last week alongside councillors Mark Hannon and Vic Jefferies.

Image caption Mr Dunning's resignation letter thanked his colleagues and praised their and his record

It followed councillors Steve Goldswain and Norman Pickthall being deselected in December.

In his resignation letter, Mr Dunning said he and his colleagues had left "a legacy in Redcar in Cleveland with all of its 13 libraries still open, five leisure centres still open and we built a new civic heart", despite funding cuts.

Speaking after the meeting, he said: "We didn't want a blood bath here today, so one has to do the dignified thing and resign."

Sue Jeffrey, leader of the council's Labour group, said: "George Dunning's resignation was inevitable given the events of the last week and his resignation from the Labour Party."

She said the party would "work constructively" with the independent and Liberal Democrat coalition while holding them to account.

Ms Lanigan is the first woman to lead Redcar and Cleveland Council.

Related Topics

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites