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Labor retains control of Newcastle City Council despite loss of seat UK News

Labor lost two seats in Newcastle on a damaging night for the party in the North East – but the main story of Election Day in the city was a looming leadership fight.

Confirmation emerged as the votes were counted at Northumbria University’s Sport Central that council chief Nick Forbes was facing a leadership challenge next Monday from a rival and one of his former members of the firm, Nick Kemp.

The city’s ruling party, which still enjoys a strong council majority, saw two seats west of Newcastle fall to the Newcastle Independents Party.

The most notable loss came in Denton and Westerhope, where one of Labor’s most important figures lost his place on the council.

Transport Authority cabinet member Arlene Ainsley was beaten by Newcastle Independents candidate Tracey Mitchell by a margin of over 400 votes.

It was a similar story in the nearby Lemington neighborhood, where Jason Smith was victorious.

Mr Smith, who founded the community-driven party formerly known as Newcastle First 10 years ago, attributed its success to the ‘Labor Party forgetting its roots and its heart’.

However, the Labor Party managed to push back the challenges of the Liberal Democrats and hang on to the battlefield seats of Ouseburn and North Jesmond.

Despite big gains elsewhere in the region, the Conservatives’ long run without electoral victory in Newcastle continued. No Conservative has been elected in the city since 1992, almost 30 years ago.

The Green Party’s hopes of securing a first city council seat were also dashed, with Tay Pitman unable to secure the West Fenham victory she hoped for.

Councilor Forbes, who is now focused on the battle for his own political future ahead of Monday’s leadership challenge, said the loss of Councilor Ainsley was a “blow” but was comforted by the performance that the performance Labor at Newcastle was stronger than the other parties. of the region.

He said: “It looks like the results for the Labor Party in Newcastle are better than the trend for the rest of the North East.

“While losing two seats is disappointing, the fact that the Lib Dems have failed to make any progress despite having thrown their blow at their campaigns in Ouseburn and North Jesmond and the Tories’ failure once again to win a only siege shows that the locals have put their faith. In work. “

Asked how the election results would affect his own chances of continuing as party leader, Councilor Forbes added: “These are not the devastating results that some in my party were predicting and I hope they will. prove that my results in terms of results The Covid crisis was an important factor in the electoral success of Labor.

There were 28 seats up for grabs in Newcastle, one for each part of the city plus a supplement for Chapel and Byker. 18 were held by Labor, six held by the Lib Dems, two won by Independents in Newcastle and two held by Independents.

The general political makeup of the council is now: Labor 52, Lib Dem 20, three independents from Newcastle, three independents. The turnout was 39%, up slightly from the previous local elections in 2019.