Ex-teacher selected as first female Labour group leader in Hartlepool after resignation of former chief

Labour has announced its first female group leader on Hartlepool Borough Council following the surprise resignation of its former figurehead.

Thursday, 17th December 2020, 4:00 pm

De Bruce ward Councillor Brenda Harrison has been selected to replace Cllr Paddy Brown who quit the party last week.

The former teacher is looking to lead Labour to success in next May’s local elections and hopes to become the first ever female leader of the council.

Cllr Harrison said: “It is a privilege to be elected to lead Labour into the 2021 local elections, which will be vital for our town.

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Councillor Brenda Harrison is the new Labour Group Leader on Hartlepool Borough Council.

"We need change in Hartlepool because the tired civic centre councillor culture has failed us too many times and that is why we have selected more new candidates this year than at any time in our history.

"Paramedics, veterans, teachers, solicitors, charity and community workers, experts in housing and industry and people from the business community – all will be Labour candidates in 2021.

"Their real-life experience is what we need to bring about change in our council in town.”

Cllr Harrison has represented De Bruce ward since 2016 and was chair of the council’s Children’s Services Committee from 2018-2019.

She spent 33 years at the English Martyrs School, primarily as a music teacher, but also taught English.

Since retiring in 2011 Cllr Harrison has continued to be involved in the local community including running and conducting the four-part choir Paraphenalia.

Labour members and supporters have welcomed the news. On social media Becky Goddard said: “Great news! It’s about time Brenda was at the top!”

And Sara Laffey said: “Wonderful teacher and I am sure will be just as wonderful in this role.”

Cllr Harrison added: “I am overwhelmed by the many messages of support and congratulations that I have received, it is genuinely humbling, and I will work every day to win these elections for Labour and repay people’s faith.

"I hope this is a message to every young lady out there that our choices can make a real and positive difference to people’s lives.”

Cllr Brown stood down citing party politics were increasingly interfering with local decision making.

He currently represents Jesmond ward as an independent councillor.

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