A STRIFE-torn council Labour group has lost two more councillors after appointing a new leader.

Cllr Paddy Short and his partner Cllr Caroline Montague have resigned from the party, apparently scuppering its chances of taking control of Hyndburn borough at Thursday's annual meeting of the Council.

The group has chosen Spring Hill ward's Cllr Munsif Dad as its leader.

The resignations of Cllrs Short and Montague to sit as Independents are the latest of a string of councillor resignations from the Hyndburn Labour party, including its former leader Cllr Miles Parkinson who quit describing it as ' unpleasant, bullying and vindictive'

The political balance on the council is now 15 Labour councillors to the Conservatives 14, five Independents and one vacancy in the highly marginal Overton ward.

This will make it almost impossible to prevent Cllr Parkinson keeping his post as leader while sitting as an Independent with the support of his four non-aligned colleagues and the Conservatives.

Cllr Dad is one of four Muslim Labour councillors described in a 2014 email from Cllr Parkinson as 'bigoted' and 'dangerous'.

A second of the group - Cllr Abdul Khan - is due to be installed as Mayor at the annual meeting of Hyndburn Council.

The Labour group chose Cllr Melissa Fisher (who challenged Cllr Parkinson for the leadership 12 months ago) and Cllr Kate Walsh as Cllr Dad's deputies.

The election followed acting leader Cllr Paul Cox standing down.

Cllr Dad said: "I am deeply honoured and humbled to be given the opportunity to become leader of the :Labour group.

"I will do my utmost to serve the residents of Hyndburn.

"The leadership team has set out clearly the values of unity respect and vision.

"These values will underpin the Labour Group as it works towards setting the agenda to transform Hyndburn as well as the lives of its residents.

"After a challenging few months, Hyndburn Labour Group is moving forward to address the issue of the cost of living crisis and its impact that many residents are facing.

"The Labour group now has renewed vigour to bring forward new policies and ideas.

"We have been informed this that Cllr Paddy Short and his partner Cllr Caroline Montague have both resigned from the Labour Party with immediate effect and have gone Independent.

"This is some disappointment "

Cllr Parkinson said: "I wish Cllrs Dad and Khan all the best. Any difference we may have had eight years ago are resolved."