SUNDERLAND Labour Group has labelled the Lib Dems ‘weak and ineffective’ and accused the party of abandoning the people who voted them in, after a ward councillor stepped down with less than a year’s service. 

Lynn Appleby was elected as a Liberal Democrat to represent the Sandhill Ward in May 2018.  She sat as an ‘Other’ in the Liberal Democrat and Others Group, following her suspension by the Lib Dems for offensive Facebook posts, and has stepped down as councillor just 10 months into her four-year term. Now Labour has criticisedthe party, saying they have ‘shirked their responsibility to the people and community they purport to represent’.

Councillor Graeme Miller, Leader of Sunderland Labour Group, said: “The Lib Dems have a track record of letting down those who vote them in. You only have to cast your mind back to 2010, to see – on a national stage – how this self-serving party put itself first and the public second, to prop up a Tory Government that has since been on a seemingly endless rampage of cuts and austerity, inflicting misery on millions of people the length and breadth of the country.

“Now, closer to home, we are seeing this party abandon those who voted for them, and turn their back on communities here in Sunderland. Unfortunately, those wards are seeing first-hand how weak and ineffective the Lib Dems actually are – they are headline hunters, who have a lot to say, but sadly, do not carry through with the action needed to drive positive change in the community.”

He added: “It’s a shame when any councillor has to step down, because – in a democratic society – that person has been chosen by the community to represent them. However, people in Sandhill should note that they have been let down by the Lib Dems and that this councillor is yet to even explain why. They have put their trust in a party that has now left them without representation.”

“Whatever has led to Lynn Appleby’s decision to step down, to leave just ten months in, demonstrates the total lack of commitment Lib Dems have to this city and an explanation is surely owed to those who voted her in.”

Councillor Miller continued: “It takes someone who is willing to put their heart and soul into the role to make an effective councillor, and sadly for Sandhill, Lynn was unable to do that.”

By abandoning her responsibilities, Lynn will leave her seat open, meaning that two of the three Sandhill seats will now be contested during May’s local elections.

Labour’s second candidate will join an already very active and community-minded local Labour team that is getting things done for the people of Sandhill.  The team is headed by Labour councillor,Debra Waller and Labour’s candidate for the other seat up in May, Nathan Davison.

Coun Miller added: “While the Lib Dems may have walked away from Sandhill, Labour will continue to fight and give local people the support and the voice they need.  The area has been underrepresented for years now.”

Sunderland Labour Group has confirmed that the party will field candidates to compete for both Sandhill seats in a bid to bring stability to the area.