ANOTHER senior Labour figure has quit a strife-torn borough party claiming intimidation and manipulation.

Former regeneration boss Cllr Loraine Cox is the latest in a string of councillors to resign from the Hyndburn Labour group.

Her move takes the Independent group of councillors to eight - seven of whom have previously quit Labour.

It runs the council with the 14-strong Conservative group with Labour now down to 13 despite winning the Overton by-election in Great Harwood last month.

The Church councillor's resignation raised questions over whether her husband Peel ward's Cllr Paul Cox will also quit the party.

Labour, which in 2019 had 26 councillors on Hyndburn Council, has been hit by a series of resignations in recent months - most notably its leader Cllr Miles Parkinson in March.

Cllr Mrs Cox said: "It is with great sadness that I will be resigning from the Labour Party with immediate effect.

"Month after month I have watched in dismay as lifelong Labour Party members - including some very dear friends - have been targeted and singled out by bullying and aggressive behaviour.

"Over this period, I have been increasingly uncomfortable with a toxic culture that is now rampant in the Hyndburn Labour Party and no longer feel able to be a member of a party that is now more obsessed with its internal battles than it is with serving the people who elect us .

"The fact that so many of the Labour resignations have come from women who have been pushed around and intimidated is also deeply troubling.

"This blatant shocking disgusting behaviour is something that I myself have experienced.

"I am just embarrassed by the way the Hyndburn Labour Party is being run and manipulated.

"What’s going on in Hyndburn Labour Party is a disgrace and the situation is made worse by the fact that it is being covered up by a thin veil of democracy.

"The truth is the Labour Party has lost its way both at Hyndburn, Lancashire and nationally."

The leader of Hyndburn's Labour group Cllr Munsif Dad said: "Under my leadership of the Hyndburn Labour Group, I made a firm commitment to raising standards in public life, on policies and welcoming different views.  I feel this is a premeditated step and plays into an agenda by others."
Deputy leader Melissa Fisher said: "Cllr Cox was under investigation by the national Labour Party about her unpleasant behaviour. She has jumped before the conclusion of the investigation."

Leader of the council Cllr Parkinson said: "It is very sad that so many members of the Labour group have felt they had to leave the party where they did so much good work."

Conservative group leader Cllr Marlene Haworth said: "The Labour Party in Hyndburn is in meltdown."

Cllr Paul Cox has been approached for comment.