LABOUR is searching for a new candidate to stand in recently confirmed local elections following a county councillor’s decision to quit the party.

Tanya Tucker was elected to represent Durham County Council’s Woodhouse Close division in 2017.

But in an email sent to her fellow representatives,she confirmed she had chosen to resign her membership following a dispute with her party colleagues.

She claimed her decision had been partly prompted by opposition from her own party to her friendship with non-Labour councillors.

She said: “For me, politics is about the debating room and the council chamber, it’s not for the street where I’m talking to people and asking how I can help them.

“We’ve butted heads on certain things and this has been the straw which broke the camel’s back.”

She added: “The biggest problems I have at the minute is dog fouling and fly tipping, which is probably the same right across the county.

“People are more interested in that being sorted than someone turning up on your doorstep and asking how they’re going to vote.”

Councllor Tucker admitted at the time she chose to quit the party she was facing an internal investigation after choosing to abstain on a county council vote, rather than follow her Labour colleagues.

Cllr Tucker, who now sits as an independent and is yet to decide whether or not to contest her seat at upcoming local elections planned for May, joins county councillors Peter Brookes and Jude Grant on the opposition benches after they also chose to quit the Labour Party in the days following the 2019 general election.

Reacting to Cllr Tucker’s decision, a Labour Party spokesman said: “We are focussed on the upcoming elections and will be selecting a new candidate to put forward Labour’s positive case to the voters.”