Sunderland For Transparency President Steve Cuthbert has replied to claims that Council leader Graeme Miller and Council Chief Executive Patrick Melia told Councillors not to attend the official Sunderland For Transparency Leaders' 2019 Debate by claiming it was a "far-right" event.

Sources suggest that Councillors were informed via email not to communicate with the group or attend because it was a "far-right" group. Yet despite this, all political parties in Sunderland other than Labour attended the debate and it was even featured in the Sunderland Echo with representatives from the Press & Media in attendance at the event.

Mr Cuthbert said "Here is an event that invited parties across the political spectrum of Sunderland to come and engage with the public in an open and honest discussion about this city and its future and you [Cllr Graeme Miller] failed to attend despite 4 separate invitations?"

He continued further stating "Is being very concerned about wasted public money being "Far Right"?

Is the serious concerns surrounding ongoing corruption and wrong doing being "Far Right"?

Is caring about the appalling state of Sunderland's care home and child welfare system  being "Far Right"?
Is wanting positive changes for this city its future and its people being "Far Right"?"

The full email sent to Mr Miller is available online at the end of this press release.