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Four senior councillors deselected by Labour after ‘serious failings’ review

The leader of Redcar & Cleveland Council, George Dunning, has been deselected by the Labour Party. Deputy leader Sheelagh Clarke and councillors Mark Hannon and Vic Jefferies have also been deselected ahead of the local elections in May.

A recent leaked internal Labour report found the local group was "dysfunctional" with "serious failings".

A statement from the party said: "Local Labour party members have begun choosing a fresh, exciting and committed new team.

"Council leader George Dunning and deputy leader Sheelagh Clarke have served the public for many years with great dedication and have much to be proud of.

"However, local Labour Party members have voted to replace them with other candidates for the ward of Teesville.

"We have a wealth of talent in the Labour Party and the bar has been set very high this year. The people of Redcar and Cleveland deserve the very best representation for the party."

Two local councillors, Steve Goldswain and Norman Pickthall, were deselected in December.

Update: 5 February 2014

Ten Labour councillors have quit the party in protest to their colleagues deselection and how the party is being run in the area.

The Liberal Democrats are calling for six of the councillors to resign from the council's cabinet.

The Labour party has said they are disappointed but not surprised at the councillors decision.

A spokesman said: "The selection process is still ongoing but local members have begun to choose a new team of candidates drawn from a wide range of backgrounds, including a postman, a steel worker, a cobbler, a barmaid, and a netball coach."

Council leader George Dunning, one of those deselected by the party, said that to an outsider it must look like the Labour Party in the area is in turmoil.

He added that the now former Labour councillors will consider standing as independents, but they also have offers to join the Greens.

Dunning blamed the office of MP Tom Blenkinsop for the mess, saying he was trying to run the council. The BBC asked Blenkinsop for comment but he declined.

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