THE longest-serving councillor in South Tyneside has lost his appeal after being suspended from the Labour Party over claims he did not attend a regional conference.
The borough’s Labour Group last week handed Coun Eddie McAtominey – a ward member for Hebburn South since 1973 – a six-month suspension for breaching the council’s code of conduct.
His appeal against the decision was heard on Monday night at a meeting held at the Labour North’s regional headquarters in Newcastle.
It is understood the appeal was not upheld.
The move follows claims Coun McAtominey failed to represent the local authority at a Tyne and Wear Pensions Fund training day in York on Monday, March 3, after travelling to the North Yorkshire city.
Despite his suspension from the Labour Group, Coun McAtominey remains an elected member of South Tyneside Council and can continue to represent his ward constituents until the local council elections on May 7.
He is due to stand for re-election in Hebburn South, but cannot represent the Labour Party while suspended – leaving him no access to party support.
Coun McAtominey can still contest the election as an independent candidate.
He was unavailable for comment yesterday.
A spokesman for South Tyneside Council declined to comment on the Labour Group’s decision, but did confirm that Coun McAtominey remains a member of the council.
Labour chief whip in South Tyneside, Coun John McCabe, a ward colleague of Coun McAtominey in Hebburn South, also declined to comment on the case
A major figure on the borough’s political scene for more than four decades, Coun McAtominey has been a driving force behind the ongoing regeneration of Hebburn town centre.
No spokesman for Labour North could be contacted for comment.