THE leader of a North-East council has hit out at claims his cabinet members are keen to “jump ship”.

Bill Dixon, leader of Darlington Borough Council, failed in his efforts to secure the Labour nomination for Thursday’s (November 15) Police and Crime Commissioner elections.

Another senior cabinet member, Chris McEwan, unsuccessfully attempted to become the party’s candidate for the Middlesbrough by-election, following the death of Sir Stuart Bell.

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There are rumours another cabinet member has ambitions to replace Stephen Hughes as the area’s representative in the European parliament.

This has led Heather Scott, leader of the council’s opposing Conservative group, to ask: “Who will be next to attempt to jump ship before it sinks completely?”

Coun Dixon responded: “That is indicative of having a cabinet full of talented people.

“We have a group of people who are aspirational, they are not the only people to have looked for nominations.

“It is part of the normal political process.”