A BOROUGH Labour party has been accused of 'being at war with itself' after a shock claim to a council gathering.

Independent Cllr Patrick McGinley told Hyndburn's Annual Meeting he had been approached by former MP Graham Jones to join the party so he could back a challenge to the leader of the authority Cllr Miles Parkinson.

Veteran Tory councillor Peter Britcliffe said the two senior Labour politicians were now 'at each others' throats'.

Overton ward's Cllr McGinley told the meeting in Accrington Town Hall: "At the Lancashire County Council count on Saturday 7 May 2021, I was approached by the Lancashire Labour election co-ordinator, Graham Jones. I was signalled to go into the bar area.

"He said to me that I was wasting my time as an Independent Conservative and that I could have a greater effect on the politics of the town if I was a Labour councillor.

"He directly urged me to join the Labour party in the next few days, keeping my role as councillor for Overton.

"I was clearly told I could have my choice of what committees I wanted to go on, and, more especially, I was promised I could pick any committee I wished to be the chairman of.

"This was all on condition I must vote for Melissa Fisher in an upcoming Labour leadership challenge/election.

"He said Labour needed urgent change.

"I was asked to seriously consider the proposal for the good of Hyndburn politics and to respond within a couple of days. I responded that I would contact him within two days - and I did – negatively.

"I was quite shocked by the proposal.

"On Saturday evening, I contacted Miles Parkinson to find out if there was to be a 'coup' against him. It seemed to me the group opposing Miles were panicking after they lost seats on the Friday and must fear they needed another vote or two to win the leader role.

"It has given me no joy to report these facts to the chamber. "

Cllr Britcliffe said: "It was an extraordinary meeting. Miles gave a long statement about alleged misbehaviour at election counts and then Patrick made his bombshell speech.

"Hyndburn Labour is at war with itself and unfit to run the borough. Mr Jones and Cllr Parkinson are at each others' throats."

Cllr Fisher, who told the meeting she knew nothing of Cllr McGinley's claims declined to comment.

Mr Jones only reaction when approached was to brand the speech 'libellous'.

Cllr Parkinson did not respond to several approaches for comment.