North Tyneside elects first black councillor

Voters in North Tyneside have elected a black councillor for the first time in the authority’s 48-year history.

By James Robinson
Wednesday, 11th May 2022, 12:33 pm
Labour councillor Josephine Mudzingwa.
Labour councillor Josephine Mudzingwa.

Labour candidate Josephine Mudzingwa was elected to serve the Benton Ward at last Thursday’s local elections.

The result came well into the night after the count was delayed due to the late arrival of thousands of postal votes which had to be processed before the count could begin.

There were still huge cheers on the night as Coun Mudzingwa’s victory was confirmed. It was a good night for Labour overall, with the party winning 18 of the 20 seats available on the night, and making two gains including the seat of Conservative Group leader Sean Brockbank.

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Josephine held the ward with a landslide victory, winning 1,577 votes compared to her nearest challenger, independent councillor David Arthur.

Wayne Kavanagh (Conservatives) finished third with 534 votes while Jay Beyer (Liberal Democrats) received 244 votes. The seat had previously been held by Labour’s councillor Peter Earley, who did not stand at this year’s election.

Speaking after her election, the newly elected councillor Mudzingwa said: “I would like to thank all the people who have made this journey possible. Many thanks goes to the people of Benton.

“I promise to work hard for the people of Benton and I will make you proud.”

However, they also lost one seat to the Conservatives, meaning the party now has 51 seats of the 60 on the council, with the Tories holding the other nine.

Coun Mudzingwa added: “I’m very pleased, because I wasn’t expecting it and I’ve worked really hard to get where I am.

“In my eyes, North Tyneside is a very diverse community and every child here deserves to feel that they are also represented.

“I decided to run because if you have any worries or things you are not happy with, and you decide to hide away, you are not helping yourself.

She continued: “It is good for me, because I beat the Conservatives – they got 534 votes and I got 1,577 – it was huge. That goes to the people of Benton – those people are very, very good people, they love democracy and I am so proud.”