THE leader of Northumberland County Council has said there “doesn’t need” to be mistrust among councillors after it was highlighted as an issue in a new report.

A peer review compiled by the Local Government Association and published last week said that while the local authority had made “progress it can be proud of” since the damning Max Caller review into Governance, mistrust among councillors was still an issue.

The review was debated by members of the council at a meeting on Wednesday (March 20). Conservative councillor Daniel Carr raised the issue of mistrust to council leader Glen Sanderson.

He said: “What are your thoughts about mistrust among some elected members across the council? How do we improve relations between members?

“I feel I have good relations with opposition members. I would say some members have good relations – we have to work with our opposition members.”

Cllr Sanderson replied: “I have tried hard and believe I have a good relationship with many councillors in this chamber – even the ones that tease me a lot! I don’t think there needs to be any mistrust.

“We are very much on the same page. We’re working on all of this together.

“Blyth couldn’t improve without Blyth councillors, Ashington can’t do it either. We need to work together more.

“I will help anyone in this chamber who wants a hand with anything. We will keep on with what we’re doing, and I am very proud of the work and progress.”

The peer review’s publication sparked a spate between Cllr Sanderson and his Labour opposition leader Scott Dickinson last week. Cllr Sanderson said he was “delighted” with the report, while Cllr Dickinson warned that more needed to be done.

Cllr Dickinson was unable to attend Wednesday’s meeting. Cllr Sanderson also thanked all those members who were spoken to by the peer review team.

The Conservative leader added: “We did not try to influence who they spoke to. They spoke to a wide range of people, so they got an accurate and fair assessment of how Northumberland County Council is doing.

“This includes colleagues who may not like us – or don’t like us at all!”