COUNCIL critic Tony Martin is hoping to launch his political career - by standing as a councillor.

The outspoken cobbler is standing as an Independent in the elections for Labour-run Durham County Council in June.

Mr Martin, lives in North Shields and works at The Durham Cobbler in Claypath, Durham City, which is in the Gilesgate division he hopes to contest.

Current Labour councillor James Mackintosh is standing down and the party is putting up Peter Thompson to fight it. The Tories are fielding Margaret Cross, and the Liberal democrats Angela Rae.

For the past two years, Mr Martin has fought to bring the Labour administration on Durham City Council to heel, turning his shop window into a giant noticeboard and launching his own website.

"I will stamp out corruption and under-hand dealings," he said. "My main manifesto is that Durham is rotten.

"People have been asking me to stand, and a hell of a lot of people have promised me their vote. I will help people as much as I can."

Mr Martin said he would stand for Durham City Council in two years' time.

Former city council principal safety officer Mac Williams is Labour candidate's for the Elvet division in Durham.

Mr Williams, now chairman of the city's magistrates, accepted a £6,500 settlement from the city council on the eve of an industrial tribunal for his claim for racial discrimination.

Mr Williams faces opposition in the Elvet contest from sitting Liberal Democrat councillor John Lightley and Tory Christopher Arthur.

The Shildon North-East seat of veteran Independent councillor Tony Moore, who died last month of a heart attack, will be contested by three candidates - Independent John Smith, Tory James Trotter and Labour's Keith Henderson.

The deadline for nominations is noon on Thursday, May 10, because the election has been put back to Thursday, June 7, due to the foot-and-mouth outbreak.