Veteran councillor loses leadership vote

Lib Dem councillor Dougie Watkin has lost out in his bid to become leader of the party’s group on Northumberland County Council.

The group held a ballot following a dramatic loss of seats at this month’s elections where they went from holding 25 to 11 seats.

Coun Watkin, who has been the member for Norham and Islandshires since 1985, was challenging current leader Jeff Reid. But it was announced this afternoon that members have decided to stick with Coun Reid.

Speaking to the Gazette ahead of the vote, Coun Watkin said he felt that different skills were required for the leader moving forward, comparing the party’s situation now to that of the 1980s.