Council leader Graeme Miller blamed the Brexit situation for Labour's losses
Council leader Graeme Miller blamed the Brexit situation for Labour’s losses

Labour has held on to Sunderland Council, though its share of the vote has gone down sharply.

UKIP, the Lib Dems and Greens all gained their first seats on the council and the Conservatives also took seats at Labour’s expense, which lost 12.

The council’s leader blamed its losses on Labour MPs supporting a fresh vote on Brexit.

Councillor Graeme Miller said: “We’ve seen a massive voter protest on that issue.”

He added: “Sunderland voted as a city to leave and having had a message from MPs saying we have to have a people’s vote and a second referendum, people are saying we are not just accepting that in the Labour party.

“I have lost councillors tonight because of this – the Brexit message has stepped into local politics and that is the outcome.

“Hopefully the party will learn from it and will not make that mistake again.”

However Bridget Phillipson, Labour MP for Houghton and Sunderland South, tweeted: “Losses to different parties across city tells us this isn’t a simple Brexit story.”

Labour also lost five seats in South Tyneside and two in Newcastle, as it held on to both councils.

It also held on to North Tyneside, where it lost one seat to the Conservatives.