Labour is the big winner, but without overall control

LABOUR was the big winner in the county elections, but it does not have overall control of the council.

The party claimed 32 of the 67 Northumberland seats available. The Conservatives claimed 21, while the Liberal Democrats, who made up the former ruling minority administration, took just 11.

Three seats went to Independents.

Experienced Labour councillor Robert Arckless, who was re-elected to the Amble seat, said: “The number of gains for Labour in Northumberland is I think the biggest ever.

“We recovered well in the south east area and it was also very pleasing that we made a recovery in some of the county’s rural areas.

“Whatever the make up of the new administration, the council will have some challenging times ahead with more funding cuts coming from the Government.”

The Conservatives on the county council chose the same two men to head the group: Peter Jackson is once again the leader and Glen Sanderson deputy leader.

Coun Jackson said he was pleased that the party had made gains in Northumberland, which was against the national trend.

“Our concern is that the council administration will again focus on the south east area and the market towns and rural villages will have to play second fiddle, so we will fight any attempts to move in that direction” he added.

“We’re quite happy to enter talks with other parties. Our door is completely open and we’ve made our position clear on the key issues facing the county.”