A senior Labour councillor has quit the party over what she called its 'toxic' atmosphere.

At a full Hyndburn Council meeting last night, Overton ward councillor, Jenny Molineux, gave an impassioned speech in which she explained how she had been 'victimised and bullied' for more than two years at the hands of other 'toxic and manipulative' Labour party members.

She said the final straw was a complaint about her putting money into the Conservative Party coffers after she and her husband, former Hyndburn Labour councillor Gareth Molineux who is now a Tory member, attended a social event last week.

Cllr Molineux, who is registered blind, said the 'unfounded complaint' resulted in her receiving a formal letter placing her membership on suspension for 14 days.

Lancashire Telegraph: Cllr Jenny Molinuex has resigned from the Labour Party

The 38-year-old, who is four months pregnant with her first child, told the meeting: "This is not the first time I have had unfounded complaints raised about me; in fact, there have been numerous times in the past two years that I have been targeted by members of my own group and senior members of the Hyndburn Labour Party.

"However, these complaints have all been spurious, and I am of the firm belief that they are solely with the intent to victimise and bully me because of who I am married and related to.

"I am sure that it is evident to all in this chamber that over the past three years, certain members of Hyndburn Labour Party are only out to settle personal vendettas, not caring about the toxic and manipulative ways they go about it, and they definitely do not care about the physical and mental harm they are causing and for the lives they are destroying.

"I joined the Labour Party because I wanted to make a difference to the residents of Hyndburn.

"I thought that being a woman with a disability who had the confidence and passion for putting myself forward to stand for election three times, winning all three seats with two terms as the Ward Councillor for Overton and also to be elected as the County Councillor for Great Harwood, Rishton, Clayton and Altham, could prove to people that having a life-changing disability doesn't need to get in the way of your goals.

"I joined that Labour Party, but that Labour Party no longer exists, well not in Hyndburn at least.

Lancashire Telegraph: Cllr Gareth Molineux and his wife Jenny Molinuex

"Hyndburn Labour is toxic; some of its senior members are nasty, vindictive, manipulative, discriminate and gas-light.

"This is definitely not a party that I want to continue to be associated with.

"The abuse, discrimination and bullying I have received have affected my health, and if this were happening in an employment setting, it would not be tolerated."

Cllr Molineux's husband, Gareth, resigned from the Labour Party last year.

And despite bringing the issues to the attention of the regional and national Labour Party on several occasions, Jenny Molineux says nothing has ever been done about the persistent bullying.

She went on: "Councillors run this council, not Hyndburn Labour party's senior members, and they would do right to remember that.

"I am not prepared to sit back and tolerate this disgusting behaviour anymore, and the residents of Hyndburn need to know just how toxic, self - important and destructive the local Labour party has become.

"Unfortunately, I believe that there are around a dozen rotten eggs that spoil it for the majority."

Lancashire Telegraph: Leader of Hyndburn Council, Miles Parkinson

As she resigned her membership, she thanked several councillors who had supported her over the last few years and made it clear that her statement was not a criticism of the Leader of the Council, Miles Parkinson.

She added: "I had already decided not to re-stand for election because of these people, and I am no longer prepared to subject myself and my unborn child to this continuing barrage of abuse.

"I want to thank the residents for their ongoing support, and I will continue serving the last six and a half months of my term as an independent councillor for Overton."

Leader of the council, Cllr Miles Parkinson said it was a great loss to the party for someone as young as Cllr Molineux to come into politics to make a difference, only to find herself making a damning statement at full council,

He said: "Unfortunately, the statement Jenny made last night also highlighted that there will be individuals not re-standing this year and also members who will not re-stand in 2023.

"It's an incredible loss. This is a person who has been through adversity, who's done incredibly well for herself, who's got out there and unfortunately had to deal with similar issues with her husband, and now feels that the behaviour has switched to her.

"I am sure there will be conversations regarding the matter in the coming weeks."

Lancashire Telegraph: Peter Britcliffe

Conservative Party councillor for St Andrews ward, Peter Britcliffe said it was rather 'disturbing to see the actions of some of the senior Labour Party members in Hyndburn'.

He added: "How the current Labour group are tearing themselves apart is very disturbing.

"And while it's not good for the Party, it's not good for the running of the borough, as we try to repair from the Covid pandemic we really need stability on Hyndburn Council.

"Jenny is well-liked by everyone, and her treatment is almost like kicking a puppy.

"I have heard that other members of the party will also be resigning, members who have worked hard.

"The behaviour in the Labour Party is coming from outside influences, not people who are elected councillors and I find it extraordinary that these outside influences are having an effect on Hyndburn Council."