Leader pays tribute to Labour cabinet member who lost seat on South Tyneside Council to independent
Councillor Moira Smith was first elected to the Fellgate and Hedworth ward in 1998 before retiring in 2007.
The Labour councillor then returned in 2013 as a ward representative for Primrose and went on to serve on the cabinet in several positions.
This included lead member for area management and community safety, health and wellbeing and children, adults and families.
In a recent cabinet reshuffle, Cllr Smith was also appointed as cabinet member for voluntary sector, partnerships and co-operatives.
At the elections on May 5, 2022, the Primrose councillor lost her seat to independent John Robertson who won the contest with a 129-vote majority.
The Labour loss was one of many on the night with the Green Party taking seats from the Labour Party in Beacon and Bents and West Park as well as independent candidate Paul Brenen winning in Westoe.
With a number of new Labour Party candidates standing due to councillors retiring or stepping down, Moira Smith was the only incumbent Labour councillor on election night to lose a seat.
Speaking after the results were announced at Temple Park Leisure Centre last week, council leader Cllr Tracey Dixon paid tribute to her cabinet colleague.
Cllr Dixon said: “We have seen the loss in Primrose of a very long-serving elected member in Cllr Moira Smith who was a cabinet and portfolio holder.
“Moira has dedicated so much of her life and given such a huge commitment to represent the residents of Primrose.
“Unfortunately it’s disappointing that she has lost her seat this evening and from a personal perspective we’re going to miss Moira in that council chamber but we wish her all the very best in moving forward.”
Kate Osborne, MP for Jarrow, posting on social media following the election results, expressed “huge commiserations” to Cllr Smith and described her as a “fantastic candidate”.
A statement posted on social media by the Primrose Labour Party also praised Cllr Smith for a “very positive and constructive campaign”.
The statement added: “It’s not a win, but it’s a work in progress.
“Labour will continue to represent residents of Primrose albeit without a Labour councillor.
“Here’s to the future.”
Updates on the make-up of South Tyneside Council’s cabinet are expected to be confirmed at the annual meeting of the council later this month on May 17.