Two councillors quit Labour Party

By Roddy AshworthTWO councillors have quit the Labour Party on Colchester Borough Council, leaving it with just four seats.The move means the group - which a year ago had 14 councillors - has been reduced through electoral collapse and resignations to the same size as the largest Independent group at the town hall.

By Roddy Ashworth

TWO councillors have quit the Labour Party on Colchester Borough Council, leaving it with just four seats.

The move means the group - which a year ago had 14 councillors - has been reduced through electoral collapse and resignations to the same size as the largest Independent group at the town hall.

Former Labour group deputy leader Phil Hawkins formally resigned his Wivenhoe Cross seat yesterday after moving away from the borough.


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Don Quinn also resigned yesterday from the party after a fall-out with colleagues.

Mr Quinn, who will continue to represent the St Andrews ward as an Independent councillor, led a fierce attack on fellow Labour members at a council meeting on Monday.

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He accused other Labour councillors of behaving like a “small family business” more interested in ousting him from the party than serving the people of Colchester.

His outburst followed an internal Labour disciplinary hearing in which a committee found him responsible for disloyalty, bullying and intimidation within the local party and effectively gagged him for 19 months.

Mr Quinn - who during his 38-year membership of the Labour party has been a parliamentary candidate, a local agent, a local councillor and local party chairman - said he would now join the “swelling ranks” of those leaving Colchester Labour.

Labour group leader Tim Young said he did not believe his position on the council's cabinet was in jeopardy, despite the reduced size of his group.

Members of the Tiptree and Wivenhoe Independents Group now have the same number of seats as Labour, although they are not represented on the cabinet.

Mr Young also brushed aside Mr Quinn's criticisms: “In my opinion, Don Quinn's resignation from the Labour Party was nothing to do with politics, but everything to do with his own conduct and behaviour. It is now time to draw a line under all this and move forward.”

Mr Hawkins, who moved last year to a remote Scottish island, said he hoped the party could now rebuild.

“I hope that Don Quinn's resignation is a turning point for Labour in Colchester. It is very important for those people left in the party to work together for the good of Labour in Colchester,” he added.

roddy.ashworth@eadt.co.uk

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