Labour retains Gateshead Council dominance despite one loss in 2024 local elections

Votes being counted in The Local Election 2024 at Gateshead International Stadium.
Votes being counted in The Local Election 2024 at Gateshead International Stadium. -Credit:Craig Connor/ChronicleLive

Despite only one seat changing hands this time around in Gateshead, there were still a few surprises throughout this local election night.

While Labour has maintained its dominance of Gateshead Council, it lost a seat in the ward of Birtley for a second time. It was a paper-thin victory for Gateshead Labour's rival Lib Dems, securing the seat by only 5 votes.

Birtley has proven a controversial ward for Labour in recent years, owing to the council's closing down of the local swimming baths last year, alongside Gateshead Lesiure Centre in Saltwell. However, both sites are scheduled to reopen in September and June respectively.

The ruling party did retain Saltwell this year, having lost a seat in the ward in 2023. Previously, the Lib Dems said Saltwell could well have been on a knife's edge, but Labour's Denise Robinson was returned to the council with a comfortable majority of 442.

Labour also claimed a victory of a different kind with their candidate in Chopwell and Rowlands Gill. Labour's Jamie Joe Park, who will now represent the ward, is the council's youngest-ever councillor, aged just 19.

A baton handed down from George Kasfikis of Felling who was 22 when elected to represent Felling in May last year.

The "shock of the night", according to Labour councillor and cabinet member for housing John Adams, was a large increase in Labour votes in Whickham South and Sunnide. Last year, Labour amassed a total of 662 votes in the ward, coming a distant second to the Lib Dems with 1,829,

This time around, Labour managed to slash the Lib Dem majority in the ward to just 136 votes, coming second with 1,102 ballots.

Council Leader and Deckham Labour councillor Martin Gannon said: "Overall it was successful, although obviously it was disappointing that we were not able to win the seat in Birtley. That was the seat we lost last year which was bitterly disappointing and as a result of the swimming baths, which are due to reopen in September.

"Through difficult times we are working hard to support the people of Gateshead. We will continue to work to win people's confidence even further".

The Green Party, which had campaigned hard in Bridges ward came in second place with 581 votes. However, Greens at the Gateshead count were also celebrating their party's victories in Newcastle, including the gaining of Byker.

The political composition of Gateshead Council now stands at 48 Labour councillors to 18 Liberal Democrat opposition councillors.