By-election triggered in Northumberland after Cramlington county councillor steps down

Conservative county councillor Christine Dunbar and her husband, town councillor Norman, who have both stepped down from their positions.
-Credit: (Image: Handout)

A Cramlington councillor has stepped down in a shock decision after seven years in the role.

Christine Dunbar announced she would be stepping down from Northumberland County Council via social media. The Cramlington Eastfield Conservative councillor was first elected at the 2017 local elections, and also serves on Cramlington Town Council alongside her husband Norman, who is also stepping down.

It comes less than 12 months before the next round of Northumberland local elections, which occur once every four years. However, speaking to the Local Democracy Reporting Service, Coun Dunbar said that the time was right to leave her position.

She said: "It has been a privilege and an honour to serve this community. It's time for us to step down.

"I don't want to make a fuss - it's not all about me. Norman and I have been community activists for 12 years and for the last seven we have been elected representatives.

"We have made a lot of good changes and improved our area. Looking at the comments on social media, everyone is sorry to see us go - it's made me quite emotional, I didn't realise how much people really cared about us.

"I just hope that whoever takes on this ward in the future carries on that hard work."

Coun Dunbar was one of three Conservative councillors to vote for a motion of no confidence in former leader Coun Peter Jackson in 2019, alongside fellow Cramlington Conservative councillors Mark Swinburn and Wayne Daley. But despite her resignation coming just a week before the General Election, Mrs Dunbar insisted it had nothing to do with politics.

She also said she had not left the Conservative Party.

She said: "It has nothing to do with the election. Being a local councillor is far removed from national politics.

"We're just trying to make our area better. That's the grassroots politics. It's just time to let someone else have a go."

A spokesman for Northumberland Conservatives said: "We are really sorry to see Christine step down. She has served her community well for the last seven years, and we wish her all the best in the future."

Mrs Dunbar retained her seat in 2021 with 873 votes, securing a majority of 429 over her Labour rival Karen Deagle.