‘I’ll work with Labour’ says new Independent

NO POINT-SCORING ... Independent Coun Lee Hughes.
NO POINT-SCORING ... Independent Coun Lee Hughes.

POLITICAL peace could be about to break out in the council chamber at South Shields Town Hall.

Independent councillor Lee Hughes emerged triumphant in Jarrow’s Bede ward at last month’s Local Elections, defeating Labour’s Arthur Meeks.

But the landlord of the Red Hackle pub, on the town’s Scotch Estate, says he is not aiming to score political points.

He says he plans to work alongside the ward’s two Labour representatives, Coun Fay Cunningham and Coun Margaret Peacock, to ensure the best results for the people of the area.

Last month’s poll failed to change the political dynamic at the town hall.

Labour remains overwhelming the largest player on South Tyneside Council, with 49 of the 54 wards in the party’s control.

Father-of-six, Coun Hughes, says his main aim will be to ensure that the Decent Homes programme is completed across his ward.

He said: “I have respect for Arthur Meeks, and we have worked together for the residents. That will continue with Fay and Margaret, I’m sure of it.

“All three of us will be at the residents’ meeting at Perth Green CA, on Thursday.

“It’s not about political point-scoring for me.

“What’s important is getting things done in the ward for the residents, and I intend to work alongside Fay and Margaret to ensure that happens.”

Coun Hughes has also received support from independent councillor George Elsom, the leader of the council’s opposition group.

He added: “George has been giving me some advice and I’ve also been to the council to collect my laptop, even though I must admit I can’t even switch a computer on!”

The call for consensus politics was welcomed by Coun Cunningham, who is today due to become the mayor of South Tyneside.

She said: “We have always worked very well with Lee in his capacity as chairman of the 4BedeResidents’ Group and I see no reason for that to change.

“We have a great deal of respect for Lee and the work he does.”

Twitter: @shieldsgazpaul