Labour wipe Ukip off the map in South Tyneside

LABOUR enjoyed a clean sweep in the local elections – wiping UKIP off the borough’s political map and increasing their stranglehold on power.

The party won all 18 seats up for grabs in Thursday’s local election.

2015 local and general election at Temple Park Centre.

2015 local and general election at Temple Park Centre.

It means Labour now have 52 of the 54 seats on South Tyneside Council.

As well as council leader Iain Malcolm and his deputy Alan Kerr defending their respective Horsley Hill and Monkton wards, the party also took UKIP’s two seats in Fellgate and Hedworth and Westoe and the Cleadon Park ward, where independent George Elsom had stood down before the election.

Audrey Huntley, who took the Fellgate and Hedworth ward from sitting UKIP councillor Linda Hemmer, said: “I am delighted with the result and I am planning to continue with the great work of the two Labour councillors in the ward.

“It’s a fantastic ward and the people obviously wanted three Labour councillors rather than UKIP.

“What I can say is that no matter who you voted for, I was represent all of the people of the ward the same and speak for them all.”

South Tyneside also now has its youngest ever councillor after the election of Adam Ellison in the Hebburn North ward.

The University of Sunderland student is only 19 and became Labour’s freshest face in the Town Hall.

He said: “I was confident of this result because of the response we were getting on the doorstep.

“Since April, we have knocked on 3,000 doors in the ward. I don’t believe my youth should be an issue as long as I can do the job I have been elected to do effectively.

“I cannot wait to get started and work alongside my two Labour colleagues.”

Wilf Flynn, secretary of Jarrow Constituency Labour Party, was elected for the Hebburn South ward.

Mr Flynn said: “I believe I have benefitted from years of excellent activity in the ward and now I want to deal with the issues that have been raused with me on the doorstep, including problems with boundary walls, the Decent Homes programme not being finished and a number of sporting issues to be addressed.

“I am particulary looking forward to working alongside Alan Kerr. I’ve been secretary of the Labour Party for 20 years and Alan has been treasurer.

“I’m delighted I will be working alongside him for the next four years.”

To continue a family theme, Susan Traynor - sister to Iain and Ed Malcolm - also became a councillor, winning the Cleadon Park seat.