THE former leader of Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council has stood down as Labour Group leader following last weeks huge loss in the polls.

Councillor Sue Jeffrey made the decision at the weekend ahead of Labour group's annual general meeting tonight when a new leader will be selected.

In announcing her resignation she said: “I feel proud and privileged to have been Leader of the Labour Group and the Council for the past term, but now is the time for someone else to take over and lead the Group.

"I look forward to continuing to serve my community as the Councillor for South Bank, and to supporting Labour in the Council Chamber from the back benches. I also hope to be able to continue my involvement in there development of the South Tees Development Corporation site.”

The Northern Echo: The election count at Redcar Cleveland Borough CouncilThe election count at Redcar Cleveland Borough Council

Councillor Christopher Massey, deputy leader of the Labour Group and the Council, said: “I am really sad that Sue is stepping down. It's been a pleasure to work with her and I think we have an awful lot to be proud of. I believe the election result is entirely reflective of the national/regional position, and not of our work locally - both in the campaign and over the last four years.”

Independents now make up the single biggest group on the authority with 18 - but no one party gained enough seats to take overall control.

Labour veterans like Dave Walsh and Ian Jeffrey, the husband of the former leader, fell victim to a Teesside-wide rejection of the party, as it lost its minority administration of 28 councillors.