THE female Asian Labour councillor at the centre of a selection row told party members she had been subject to 'a campaign of intimidation when she withdrew from standing for office again, it has emerged.

Cllr Saima Afzal, who represents Blackburn Central on Blackburn with Darwen Council, made the claim in speech to the second selection meeting for May's candidate for the ward.

She and Queen's Park and Audley's Cllr Maryam Batan were hailed as 'trailblazers' when they became the first Asian woman councillors in the borough in May 2018.

But at a joint selection meeting on February 7 both were dropped from the party slate in May's borough polls.

The Labour Party ordered a rerun of the selection on Friday over concerns about the meeting's procedures.

Cllr Batan was reselected as candidate but Cllr Afzal declined to take part and was replaced by Samim Desai.

At the meeting Cllr Afzal launched a bitter attack on the local Labour Party in speech the Lancashire Telegraph has seen a copy of.

She said: "I cannot remain silent over a campaign of intimidation against me, not because I am failing to carry our the policies of the Labour Party but precisely because I have been scrupulous in following them. I have been impartial in serving constituents both from the Asian and white communities. I have not given priority yo one over the other.

"It is with deep hurt that I have to say that those who wish to oust me are not motivated by principle but are following agendas of their own animated by homophobia, misogyny and prejudice."

Blackburn Labour Party secretary Cllr Phil Riley said; "No formal complaint has been received by us."

Cllr Afzal declined to comment.

Blackburn's Conservatives have branded the episode 'shameful'.