Labour strengthened their grip on Redcar and Cleveland Council in the borough’s local elections with an overall gain of five seats. Of the five gains, four of the gains were made by councillors under the age of thirty. Dale Quigley, who at 24 is the youngest ever candidate to be elected to Redcar and Cleveland council, was elected to the Kirkleatham ward in central Redcar. Councillor Quigley made Labour’s first breakthrough of the evening, winning back a seat lost to the Liberal Democrats in 2008. He was joined by two other young Labour councillors in Steve Goldswain, 28, and Christopher Massey, 25, who were both elected as councillors for Eston, a ward which Labour lost control of back in 2003.
Another young candidate to be elected to Redcar and Cleveland was 29 year old former university lecturer Dr Tristan Learoyd. Councillor Learoyd, who made national headlines when he resigned over
increased tuition fees as a Senior Lecturer of Pharmacy from the University of Sunderland in February, topped the poll in Marske’s St Germains ward. Dr Learoyd’s result was the surprise of the evening as
he came from 700 votes behind to win by over 200 dragging another Labour and Co-operative Party candidate, Sean Pryce, through to be elected in third place. Councillors Quigley, Goldswain and Learoyd have been central to the renovation of the local Labour party since the party’s collapse in Redcar and Marske in the 2010 General Election. “What we want to see is progression. For too long Redcar has stagnated, what is required is for the younger generations to come through and make the difference our area needs. We need to increase the democratic accountability of the council, to move to a committee style structure where we can improve democracy, to allow us to drastically improve consultation and engagement. We’ll be pressing the Coalition Government to enable councils to make these changes,” said Cllr Quigley. “The people of this area want a new start they are tired of broken promises.
Our area’s decline has gone on too long. That’s why we started getting young people in to the party last year and now we are going to be given our chance to prove our worth. We want to move to democratic local economy, where local businesses and local people are given a real chance. We want to see the natural features, such as our coastline and countryside being used to their potential working in partnership with local people. We want to improve standards across the borough as part of a united Labour group taking the council and the borough forward despite local Coalition MP Ian Swales’ savage cuts to our area,”said Cllr Learoyd. Council leader George Dunning said “This is a stunning victory for Labour. The 32 seats gained beat the target of 30 and my prediction of 31 to give us a working overall majority of 5 seats. What is essential that we bring through and nurture young talent and give them the chance to develop. These are exciting times, but there will be challenges for me as leader in striking the right balance, the younger members of Labour team are demanding changes and it will be my mission to make sure that we can balance youth, enthusiasm and the undoubted range of expertise I know we have in the group with existing experienced councillors. Despite the irrational cuts being implemented by Coalition MP Ian Swales, the election of this young Labour team offers the borough hope and a voice in these very hard financial times.”