Independents plan to work together in South Tyneside after scooping four seats in the latest round of local elections.
Thursday’s election saw Labour - which held 53 out of 54 seats - lose the Westoe, Primrose, Fellgate and Hedworth and Bede wards a to independent candidates and the Green Party win a seat in Beacon and Bents.
John Robertson was elected to Fellgate and Hedworth with 1,163 votes, beating Labour’s Audrey Huntley with a 204-vote majority.
Paul Milburn was elected to Primrose with a narrow 92-vote majority over Labour’s Paul Dean.
Glenn Thompson was elected to represent the Westoe ward with 712 votes over Labour’s Katharine Maxwell (635) and Keith Roberts scooped 1,170 votes in Bede- a 541-vote majority over Labour cabinet member Fay Cunningham.
The new independent councillors have since pledged to work together towards common goals including more transparency.
Paul Milburn, who set up the ‘Jarrow Independents’ Facebook page, gave thanks to voters in a social media post after the result.
He said: “I would like to take the opportunity to thank all of you who have supported me through this election campaign, and also to join me in the experience of success in becoming elected as councillor for Primrose ward.”
Glenn Thompson added: “I’m deeply honoured to take up the position for Westoe on the council.”
John Robertson said he would “back up everything he said during his election campaign and more.”
Counc Roberts said the rise of independents in South Tyneside was a direct vote against the council’s majority Labour group.
“I think it’s an eye-opener for the old Labour council, I think they have had a big shock,” he said.
Chris Binding , Local Democracy Reporting Service