Aycliffe councillor John Clare says the Labour Party has been “punished by Brexit” after the traditionally strong North-East party was pummelled in regional elections this week.
While the next Aycliffe and Durham County Council elections aren’t until 2021, Labour lost swathes of council seats in other local polls on Thursday.
The Jeremy Corbyn-led national party lost control of Hartlepool Council, while Middlesbrough – a so-called “red town” – voted for a new independent mayor in businessman Andy Preston, who won with 58% of the votes to Labour’s 22%.
Labour councillors also lost seats in Sunderland during a miserable night for the party, which sums up the public’s apathy towards national political parties and could well play out in County Durham’s elections in two years.
But Aycliffe and Durham councillor Clare insists it’s Brexit which is to blame for Labour’s woes.
He told Aycliffe Today: “Labour seems to have been caught in a Catch 22 where it has been punished by Remainers for being too Brexit, but punished by Brexiters for being too Remain.
“Add to this, local party defections and a massive anger at established politics – which in the North-East of course is Labour – and it adds up to some pretty spectacular disappointments.
“Disappointing because, if there one thing the region needs, it’s a party which opposes austerity. That message seems to have got lost in the noise.
“If people are interested, my guests and I will be discussing the local elections and their implications in my Aycliffe Radio discussion show, live on Sunday, 6-7:30pm.”
You can tune in to Cllr Clare’s Aycliffe Radio show on Sunday by clicking here.