“No more safe seats” as Labour cling on in Hetton by-election
By John Lennox
Wearside Liberal Democrats are celebrating a huge increase in their share of the vote as the party came second to Labour in contest for the Hetton Ward of Sunderland City Council.
The results of the by-election held today (30th September) were:
Labour: 661 votes
John Lennox - Liberal Democrats: 634 votes
Independent (Geddes): 386 votes
Conservative: 303 votes
Independent (Allen): 67 votes
Green: 41 votes
The Hetton Ward includes Hetton-le-Hole, Easington Lane, East Rainton, Rainton Bridge and Moorlsey areas, and has never been held by any other party than Labour.
When the ward was contested in May 2021 the Liberal Democrats came in 6th place with just 66 votes - but have now hugely increased their vote, coming second, increasing their vote share by 30.3%.
The election was called after the death of sitting Labour councillor Doris Turner.
Speaking after the results were declared, Leader of the Liberal Democrat group on Sunderland City Council Niall Hodson said:
"This is a fantastic result for the local Liberal Democrats. We have shown that no seat in the Sunderland Council area can be considered safe for Labour anymore.
"For far too long Sunderland's ruling Labour party have taken local people and their votes for granted. Now Labour's Council bosses know that they can't get away with ignoring residents and doing nothing for decades without the local Lib Dems challenging them head on.
"Opposition Liberal Democrats will continue to be the strongest opposition voice on the Council, standing up to for what is best for residents across Sunderland, Washington, Houghton and Hetton - and fighting and winning against Labour's Council bosses in every part of this city."
Liberal Democrat candidate for the Hetton by-election John Lennox said:
"I would like to thank the huge number of people across Hetton, Easington Lane and East Rainton who voted for me to represent them on the City Council. Congratulations go to the winning Labour candidate Iain Scott - I wish him well in his new role as Hetton's new city councillor.
"Whilst it is disappointing not to win this time, local Labour councillors can be in no doubt that people in Hetton won't put up with being treated as second best by this Council any longer."