The current Mayor of South Tyneside may not be a councillor at the end of his year in office after being deselected by his local Labour party members.
Coun Ken Stephenson will not be standing for the Labour Party in the Primrose ward in Jarrow at next year’s local council elections after losing out on a vote on Tuesday night.
The news has left a bitter taste in the mouth of a number of councillors who have described Coun Stephenson as a “hardworking individual” and “genuine” person.
Coun Stephenson has represented the Primrose Ward for two years.
In May he was selected to be the borough’s first citizen when he was handed the chains of office as Mayor of South Tyneside.
It is understood the decision to deselect Coun Stephenson was made after a 10-4 vote at the selection panel hearing.
He must feel like he has been stabbed in the back by those who he represented and worked tirelessly for.Labour party member
Paul Dean - the brother of current councillor Stephen Dean - has been selected as the Labour candidate at the elections in May.
Coun Stephenson said he did not wish not to comment on the decision.
A spokesman for the Jarrow Constituency Labour Party said no comment was available at this stage.
One Labour party source said: “Everyone has been left shocked by the decision.
“Ken is a genuine person. What you see with him is what you get.
“He is an individual who has worked hard for his ward since his election as councillor.”
“No-one can understand this decision.
“He is very community-minded.”
Another party member said; “My heart goes out to Ken. From the minute he was selected as a councillor - and even before that - he put his heart and soul into the community.
“He must feel like he has been stabbed in the back by some of those who he represented and worked tirelessly for.”
“It’s an absolute shame for the Primrose ward to have lost such a genuine man as their representative.”