Leader's plea for unity after Tories gain overall control of county council

Coun Glen Sanderson has said it is important to now have a period of political consensus at County Hall following “some unpleasantness” in the run-up to last Thursday’s election.

Tuesday, 11th May 2021, 3:22 pm
Coun Glen Sanderson.

The leader of Northumberland County Council and the Conservative group has given his reaction to the results and looked ahead to the future.

The Tories gained six seats and lost five. This meant the party went up from 33 seats in 2017 to 34 and it now has overall control of the council.

A range of projects have been progressed over the last four years, but the Conservative group has also had some tough times.

Indeed, Coun Sanderson became leader after previous leader Coun Peter Jackson was removed following a vote of no confidence in September 2020.

As has been widely reported, the local authority’s chief executive Daljit Lally was suspended in early August 2020, at the same time as she sent an email to all county councillors about ‘serious whistle-blowing concerns’.

This made public a major rift with the Conservative leadership, which resulted in a vote of no confidence in Coun Jackson. Mrs Lally returned to her post in October.

Coun Sanderson said: “I’m delighted that the Conservative group now has a majority administration in Northumberland.

“I think residents in the county have particularly appreciated the council’s strong leadership during the Covid-19 pandemic to support businesses and those people who need help the most.

“By this I also mean our magnificent officers and front-line staff across the board who have kept key services going with efficiency and with a smile.

“There has been some unpleasantness in the run-up to this election in terms of leaks and social media posts, which has caused unnecessary difficulties for councillors and staff.

“Therefore, I believe it is very important now to have a period of political consensus. My door is always open, I’m always happy to listen to the views of all council members and it’s my intention to work with all councillors for the good of Northumberland.

“We will continue with our plans to achieve economic regeneration and help create new jobs – from the railway line in south east Northumberland to the Borderlands projects further north.”

He added that being re-elected as Longhorsley ward councillor is a “huge honour” and thanked all those who voted for him.