ANOTHER Hyndburn Labour councillor has quit the party.

Spring Hill ward's Cllr Diane Fielding is the sixth high-profile figure in the borough to leave Labour since June 2020.

She follows council leader Cllr Miles Parkinson, his wife Cllr Bernadette Parkinson, former cabinet member Gareth Molineux and his wife Cllr Jenny Molineux, and planning chair Cllr Eamonn Higgins.

All have complained of 'toxic culture' in the Hyndburn constituency Labour party with Miles Parkinson blaming 'certain individuals who are operating behind the scenes' for the problems in his dramatic resignation speech at Hyndburn's Full Council on March 24.

In the margins of the meeting, Labour councillors were privately naming former Hyndburn Labour MP Graham Jones as the prime mover among those individuals.

In a letter to North-West regional Labour Party officials, which personally criticised Mr Jones, Cllr Fielding says: "It is with a heavy heart that as from today I am ceasing to be a Labour Party member and will become an Independent until the May election.

"I have voted Labour all my adult life and been a member since 2015, which I was very proud of.

"When I joined the Labour Party and then went on to become the Spring Hill ward councillor the group was harmonious with everyone treating everyone with respect.

"After a time, I became a target for a small number of councillors who were less than respectful but I dealt with the matter myself.

"The local group has been divided into two camps, which has been occurring over a period, circa four years.

"Still I didn't join a camp but tried to embrace both 'sides'!

"I personally don't think that Labour North-West region have helped in any way shape or form.

"I am seriously debating not voting at all in the coming local election."

Mr Jones said: "I have always fought bullies, bullying in the work place, stood on the picket line with trade unions, and anti-bullying was the priority for office as an MP.

"A small group of thankfully ex-Labour councillors made the lives of Labour members a misery.

"Secondly, I am against councillors treating being a councillor as a gravy train.

"When Diane was bullied by an ex Labour Party member who spread vicious and untrue stories my office supported her. She is being manipulated in the view of many."

Conservative group leader Cllr Marlene Haworth said: "Another one bites the dust. It seems this is never going to end."

A Labour party spokesperson said: “The party is taking steps to address the situation.”