Sunderland City Council

  1. Sunderland shows Labour 'is rebuilding'

    Two of Sunderland's Labour MPs have responded to the local election result.

    Julie Elliott, who represents Sunderland South, said: "I think the Prime Minister is in serious difficulty, this is disastrous for the Tories across the country.

    "And what we are doing is rebuilding, 2019 was the worst election result for Labour since 1935, we have got a long way to go but we are building solidly."

    Julie Elliott

    The shadow education secretary and Houghton and Sunderland South MP, Bridget Philippson, described it as a good night for the party.

    "There is a feeling on what we now can achieve," she said.

    "If you think back to where as a party we were in 2019, if you said to me then that we'd be in this position I would have been absolutely delighted."

  2. 'Bring on the general election'

    The result in Sunderland shows that the Labour Party is "on the way up", one of the area's MPs has said.

    Sharon Hodgson, who represents Washington and Sunderland West, said: "The Conservatives threw everything at this.

    "We had Boris Johnson up here on Bank Holiday Monday, we've had Rishi Sunak, we've had so many members of the cabinet, local Tories, and they couldn't land a glove on us here.

    "So I think this shows that the Labour Party, led by Keir Starmer, is back on the up - and bring on the general election as far as I'm concerned."

    Sharon Hodgson MP
  3. Sunderland Conservative leader blames 'partygate'

    The leader of the Conservatives on Sunderland Council, Antony Mullen, has told BBC Radio 4 why he believes his party failed to make gains there.

    “It’s been partygate - it’s suppressed our turnout,” he said, referring to the controversy over lockdown parties in Downing Street and Whitehall.

    He said some people had made “negative comments about Boris Johnson” while he was out campaigning locally.

    “Quite clearly that’s the only thing that has changed nationally that has affected this,” Mr Mullen said.

    “The best chance of reviving the Conservative Party's fortunes will be with a new leader,” he said.

    “If there is no improvement in the party's reputation, then clearly something has to change.”

    Leader of the Conservatives on Sunderland Council, Antony Mullen
  4. Labour 'at end of cycle of losing seats'

    Graeme Miller, Labour leader of Sunderland Council, survived a Conservative push to unseat him, which included two visits to the city by the Prime Minister.

    He said: "We are now at the end of the cycle of losing seats, I genuinely believe that.

    "We've listened and talked to residents to find out what was important for them and the council is delivering now on all of that.

    "But the key thing is trust, we are rebuilding trust people are genuinely starting to consider us as a party of leadership again.

    "That's down to Keir Starmer ... the whole party just starting to talk to people and not take it for granted, which possibly we may have done a little bit of in the past."

    Graeme Miller
  5. Labour holds on in the North East

    Richard Moss

    Political editor, North East & Cumbria

    There was never much to gain for Labour in an area where they remain a dominant electoral force, but they will at least be encouraged that losses were more limited than in previous years.

    Their challenge though now is to begin to claw back previous losses, particularly in Sunderland.

    The party started the night perilously perched in that authority - having lost 19 seats in the last two elections, they were just six more defeats from losing overall control.

    In the end, even if they didn't begin to claw seats back, they at least stopped the rot. One seat fell to the Lib Dems, but the Conservatives failed to make any gains.

    And crucially council leader Graeme Miller (pictured below) held on despite a Tory campaign which even featured a visit by Boris Johnson to his Washington ward.

    The Conservatives did win a Labour seat in North Tyneside, but also lost one - their group leader Sean Brockbank the casualty.

    As he had called for the Prime Minister to resign over Partygate, he may well feel pretty sore.

    Labour did suffer in South Tyneside as they lost four seats for the second year in a row.

    They remain firmly in control but the Green Party continue to build a bridgehead, doubling their representation to six councillors.

    Graeme Miller celebrates
  6. Sunderland's City Hall officially opens

    Although it's been in use since November, Sunderland's City Hall has officially opened for business.

    The £40m building, on the former Vaux Brewery site, is home to the city council and is also due to house staff from Gentoo and the Department for Work and Pensions.

    However, on Thursday the DWP said thousands of jobs were at risk in plans to close some offices and relocate staff at others to save money.

    Sunderland City Hall

    The new City Hall was built by financial services giant Legal and General, and the local authority will have to pay it £2.4m-a-year rent for the next 35 years.

    City council leader Graeme Miller described it as "a symbol of regeneration and the city's new confidence".

    Interior of Sunderland City Hall

    Mr Miller added: "It's very important it is in the centre of the new city centre, we want people to come and use the cafe, free computers and services here, it should be a destination that people want to come to and use."

    Sunderland's old council headquarters, which opened in 1970, will be demolished and replaced by houses.

  7. Oak tree planted to remember Holocaust refugees

    Sunderland has marked the 80th anniversary of the national charity that provides social and welfare services to Holocaust refugees and survivors by planting an oak tree.

    The Association of Jewish Refugees is planting 80 trees around the country.

    Sunderland was chosen because it helped house Jewish refugee children from Nazi-occupied Europe during World War Two.

    The memorial tree at Minster Park, Sunderland

    Sunderland Mayor Harry Trueman said: "It is significant that the planting is taking place on Holocaust Memorial Day, when we remember the six million Jews murdered during the Holocaust.

    "I hope that this tree planted today will serve as a lasting reminder."