TWO Durham county councillors have announced they are quitting the Labour Party after last week’s General Election battering.

Jude Grant and Peter Brookes represent the Trimdon and Thornley wards within Tony Blair’s former Sedgefield constituency, which fell to the Conservative Party in last week’s poll.

But despite Jeremy Corbyn’s confirmation he will stand down as leader after overseeing the loss of 59 seats, both said they could not continue as Labour members and would instead sit as independent councillors.

The letter, posted on social media on Monday night, blamed Labour’s dismal election campaign on a ‘hard left cult of Corbyn’ which had taken over the party.

In an open letter posted on Twitter, they said: “The current Labour leadership, along with their team and supporters, have presided over the worst election defeat since 1935.

“Yet, instead of acknowledging the reasons for such a blistering defeat themselves, they have sought to blame everyone else, including the voters.

“From branch level to the shadow cabinet, they have refused to listen to everyday folk who felt they could not, as decent upstanding citizens, vote for such an inept leader and his team.

“On Thursday night the leader and his team should have taken responsibility for leaving the country at the mercy of a hard right Tory Prime Minister and resigned immediately.

“The hard left cult of Corbyn which has taken over the party at every level has let down our community.

“They failed to offer a viable and credible alternative.

“Instead, so unattractive was the offer from the Labour Party that despite being responsible for the catastrophic cuts which continue to devastate our communities voters continued to believe the Tory party was the better option.

“The Labour leader and his team didn’t have anything to offer them except unicorns and fantasy, yet abused people when they chose not to sign up to worship at the altar of Corbynism.

Unlike the current Labour leadership, we still believe in the traditional Labour values of fairness, equality, aspiration and patriotism at our core.

Unfortunately, the current Labour Party has left us, abandoned these traditional values and moved to the far left. To a place where we and local voters cannot and should not have to go.

Those of us who tried to warn Labour what was to come if they continued down this path have been ignored and at worst silenced.

“Only yesterday we were warned not to comment on the current leadership in public and as ever debate between local councillors was shut down.

Our priority has always been, and will continue to be, representing the people of our ward.”

The Labour Party has been asked to comment but has not responded to requests from The Northern Echo.