Ryhope councillor Usman Ali has today (22nd March) announced that he will be leaving the Conservative group and will now sit as a Labour councillor on Sunderland City Council.

Councillor Ali said: “In 2021, I was elected to Council to take action and get things done for the residents of Ryhope. From campaigning against anti-social behaviour to supporting local charities, from day one I’ve got stuck in and worked hard. The residents in my ward have always been my priority and I will continue to work every single day for them.

“Right now, the Conservative Party is not delivering. Nationally, they are in chaos and locally are more concerned with point scoring against Labour than actually making our community a better place to live.

“After thoughtful consideration, I have decided that the best way to serve people in Ryhope is as part of the Labour Group. I can only thank Cllr Graeme Miller, Julie Elliott MP and the rest of Sunderland Labour for the support they have given me at this time.”

Councillor Graeme Miller, Leader of Sunderland City Council, said: “I’ve always known Usman as a hard-working and dedicated ward councillor. He will make a valuable addition to the Labour Group and alongside Cllr Martyn Herron will continue to be a champion for the people of Ryhope.”

Julie Elliott, MP for Sunderland Central, said: “I welcome the news that Cllr Ali is joining the Labour Group and I look forward to working with him. The Tories are failing the people of Sunderland. It’s the hardworking Labour councillors here that are on the frontline, fighting cuts from the Conservatives to deliver for people in Ryhope and beyond.”

“Both, locally and nationally, the Tories are out of touch and out of ideas, and people here recognise that. Cllr Ali will make a fantastic addition to our local Labour team and continue his hard work to deliver for residents.”