Newcastle City Council
Newcastle City Council logo
Veronica Dunn,
since 25 May 2023
Nick Kemp,
since 25 May 2022
Pam Smith
since January 2022[1]
Seats78 (40 needed for a majority)
Political groups
Administration (47)
  Labour (46)
Other parties (31)
  Liberal Democrat (23)
  Newcastle Independents (4)
  Independent (5)
Joint committees
North of Tyne Combined Authority
Length of term
4 years
First past the post
Last election
4 May 2023
Next election
2 May 2024
Meeting place
Civic Centre, Barras Bridge, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 8QH
Website Edit this at Wikidata

Newcastle City Council is the local authority for Newcastle upon Tyne, a metropolitan borough with city status in the ceremonial county of Tyne and Wear in North East England. The council consists of 78 councillors, three for each of the 26 wards in the city. It has been under Labour majority control since 2011. The council is a constituent member of the North East Mayoral Combined Authority.


Newcastle was an ancient borough; it is said to have been made a borough by William II (reigned 1087–1100). In 1400, a new charter from Henry IV gave the borough the right to hold its own courts and appoint its own sheriffs, making it a county corporate, independent from the Sheriff of Northumberland.[2]

Newcastle was reformed to become a municipal borough under the Municipal Corporations Act 1835, which standardised how most boroughs operated across the country. It was then governed by a body formally called the "mayor, aldermen and burgesses of the borough of Newcastle upon Tyne", generally known as the corporation or town council.[3] Newcastle was awarded city status in 1882, after which the corporation was also known as the city council. When elected county councils were established in 1889, Newcastle was considered large enough to provide its own county-level services, and so it was made a county borough.[4] In 1906 the city was given the right to appoint a Lord Mayor.[5]

In 1974 the county borough was replaced by a larger metropolitan borough within the new county of Tyne and Wear.[6][7] Newcastle's city status was transferred to the enlarged borough at the same time.[8]

From 1974 until 1986 the city council was a lower-tier district authority, with Tyne and Wear County Council providing county-level services. The county council was abolished in 1986, since when the city council has again provided both district-level and county-level services, as it had done when it was a county borough prior to 1974. Some functions are provided across Tyne and Wear by joint committees with the other districts.[9]


Since 1986 the council has provided both district-level and county-level functions, with some services being provided through joint arrangements with the other Tyne and Wear councils. In 2024 a combined authority was established covering Newcastle, County Durham, Gateshead, North Tyneside, Northumberland, South Tyneside and Sunderland, called the North East Mayoral Combined Authority. It is chaired by the directly elected Mayor of the North East and oversees the delivery of certain strategic functions across the area.[10] [11]

Political control

The council has been under Labour majority control since 2011.

Political control of the council since the 1974 reforms has been as follows:[12][13]

Party in control Years
Labour 1974–2004
Liberal Democrats 2004–2011
Labour 2011–present


The role of Lord Mayor of Newcastle upon Tyne is largely ceremonial. Political leadership is instead provided by the leader of the council. The leaders since 1959 have been:[14]

County Borough

Councillor Party From To
T. Dan Smith Labour 1959 1965
Frank Butterfield Labour 1965 1966
Arthur Grey Conservative 1967 1972
John Cox Conservative 1972 1974

Metropolitan Borough

Councillor Party From To
Tom Collins Labour 1974 1977
Jeremy Beecham Labour 1977 1994
Tony Flynn Labour 1994 2004
Peter Arnold Liberal Democrats 2004 2006
John Shipley Liberal Democrats 2006 1 Sep 2010
David Faulkner Liberal Democrats 1 Sep 2010 25 May 2011
Nick Forbes Labour 25 May 2011 8 May 2022
Nick Kemp[15] Labour 25 May 2022


Following the 2023 election and subsequent by-elections and changes of allegiance up to April 2024, the composition of the council was:[16][17][18]

Party Councillors
Labour 46
Liberal Democrats 23
Newcastle Independents 4
Independent 5
Total 78

The next election is due in May 2024.


The council is based at the Civic Centre on Barras Bridge.[19] It was purpose-built for the council in phases between 1956 and 1967.[20] The finished complex was formally opened on 14 November 1968 by King Olav V of Norway.[21]

Guildhall: Council's meeting place 1655–1863

The Civic Centre replaced Newcastle Town Hall, which had been built in 1863 in St Nicholas Square, and was subsequently demolished in 1973. The Town Hall in turn had replaced the Guildhall on Sandhill, which had been built in 1655 on a site which had been used for the town's guildhall since at least the thirteenth century.[22][23]


See also: Newcastle City Council elections

Since the last boundary changes in 2018 the council has comprised 78 councillors representing 26 wards, with each ward electing three councillors. Elections are held three years out of every four, with a third of the council (one councillor for each ward) elected each time for a four year term of office.[24]


The wards are:[25][26]

See also


  1. ^ "Chief executive and directors". Newcastle City Council. Retrieved 30 March 2024.
  2. ^ Report of the Commissioners Appointed to Inquire into the Municipal Corporations in England and Wales: Appendix 3. 1835. pp. 1633–1635. Retrieved 29 March 2024.
  3. ^ Municipal Corporations Act. 1835. p. 457. Retrieved 29 March 2024.
  4. ^ "Local Government Act 1888",, The National Archives, 1888 c. 41
  5. ^ "No. 27936". The London Gazette. 31 July 1906. p. 5232.
  6. ^ "Local Government Act 1972: Schedule 1",, The National Archives, 1972 c. 70 (sch. 1), retrieved 25 March 2024
  7. ^ "The Metropolitan Districts (Names) Order 1973",, The National Archives, SI 1973/137
  8. ^ "No. 46255". The London Gazette. 4 April 1974. p. 4400.
  9. ^ "Local Government Act 1985",, The National Archives, 1985 c. 51, retrieved 29 March 2024
  10. ^ "The North East Mayoral Combined County Authority (Establishment and Functions) Order 2024",, The National Archives, SI 2024/402, retrieved 6 May 2024
  11. ^ "North East devolution deal". GOV.UK. Retrieved 29 December 2022.
  12. ^ "Compositions calculator". The Elections Centre. Retrieved 10 August 2022.
  13. ^ "Newcastle-Upon-Tyne". BBC News Online. 19 April 2008. Retrieved 24 March 2010.
  14. ^ "Council minutes". Newcastle City Council. Retrieved 17 August 2022.
  15. ^ "Leader of the Council - Newcastle City Council".
  16. ^ "Local elections 2023: live council results for England". The Guardian.
  17. ^ "Local Councillors | Newcastle City Council".
  18. ^ Holland, Daniel (24 April 2024). "Newcastle Labour councillor quits party and claims he was 'victimised' over Palestine support". Chronicle Live. Retrieved 27 April 2024.
  19. ^ "Contact us". Newcastle City Council. Retrieved 31 March 2024.
  20. ^ Historic England. "Civic Centre (Grade II*) (1242692)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 31 March 2024.
  21. ^ Morton, David (14 November 2018). "Newcastle Civic Centre at 50: A royal opening and green turtle soup!". Chronicle Live. Retrieved 31 March 2024.
  22. ^ Historic England. "The Guildhall and Merchants' Court, Sandhill (Grade I) (1120877)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 31 March 2024.
  23. ^ Ford, Coreena (3 February 2016). "Café at Newcastle's Guildhall could be on the horizon as leisure entrepreneur makes plans". Chronicle Live. Retrieved 31 March 2024.
  24. ^ "The Newcastle upon Tyne (Electoral Changes) Order 2017",, The National Archives, SI 2017/1080, retrieved 30 March 2024
  25. ^ "My Neighbourhood - My Neighbourhood".
  26. ^ "Electoral Review | Newcastle City Council". Government of the United Kingdom. Retrieved 11 June 2017.