DURHAM County Councillor Carl Marshall has been elected leader of the County Durham Labour group.

The 40-year-old’s appointment follows the resignation of Councillor Simon Henig after the recent council elections saw Labour lose control of the authority.

Cllr Marshall, a father-of-three from Stanley, will now lead the local party through negotiations with other councillors and groups to determine who runs the council.

His position was confirmed at a meeting on Saturday and Cllr Rob Crute, who represents Blackhall, has been elected as his deputy.

Cllr Marshall said: “We are very bruised off the election.

“It has been a difficult couple of weeks for Labour nationally as well as in County Durham.

“We have got to roll our sleeves up and we have all got a collective responsibility to make sure the council is delivering services to communities to help in the recovery from the pandemic.

“The council is in a good position financially and we have got some big plans for jobs and growth.”

The new leader of Durham County Council is expected to be announced at a council meeting on May 26.

It will be the first time in almost 100 years that Labour has not been in control of Durham County Council.

Several long-serving Labour councillors lost their seats, including Cllr Marshall’s mother, Linda, who represented a ward in Chester-le-Street.

Cllr Marshall said: “Clearly, we are going to have to work a lot more collaboratively with opposition groups because of the make-up of the council.

“That is what the public have voted for and that is what we will do.

“The next stop is the council annual general meeting to see who the councillors want to lead the council.

“That is what we are focussed on and we want to make sure that leadership is as stable as possible.”

Cllr Marshall, first became a councillor with Derwentside District Council at the age of 23, and was most recently cabinet member for economic regeneration.

He is the North-East board member for Transport for the North and also sits on Stanley Town Council.

In 2011 he formed Stanley Events, a social enterprise, which organises community events across the county, such as music festivals and fireworks displays.

He and his wife, Anna, are both listed as directors with the organisation and the Go To Leisure Group, which was formed in 2013.

Cllr Marshall’s appointment as leader of the County Durham Labour Group comes during a crisis for the party locally as well as nationally.

The dismal showing in local elections has raised questions about Sir Keir Starmer’s suitability as party leader.

At the weekend former Health Secretary and Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham said he could be persuaded to return to Westminster if he had the support of the members.

Cllr Marshall said: “I have got a lot of time for Andy Burnham but, from my perspective, now is not the time to have another divisive leadership battle.

“We need to come together as a party and be clear what we stand for.

“Locally, I have heard loud and clear what the public has said. People have voted for a range of candidates.

“We all need to come together to work collaboratively to make sure there is political stability.

“If we don’t we are never going to be deal with some of the pressures we have on council’s finances, adult social care resources, children’s services and education.”