AN EX-LABOUR councillor who lost her seat to a hyper-local group has blamed her former party for "giving up" at the last election.

Jean Gillies, who lost her seat to Farnworth and Kearsley First in May, said she received no support from her party during her campaign to be re-elected.

The former councillor described her final year as an elected representative in Farnworth, in which she was the last remaining Labour councillor in the area, as "absolutely diabolical", saying she was not shocked or surprised when her party lost seats to new hyper-local groups.

She said: "They were always talking about it being a target seat and that they were going to support us. They were going to do this, they were going to do that, and it never materialised. You’re just fighting a losing battle all the time."

Mrs Gillies, who has now left the Labour Party, said that Farnworth's demise was not the fault of the ruling group, but blamed Labour for not acting fast enough when regeneration plans stalled.

The former councillor, who is no fan of her hyper-local rivals, puts the success of her opponents down to a wider dissatisfaction with Labour.

She said: “People were just fed up. The Asons scandal didn’t do us any good. And to be honest us backbenchers knew nothing about it.

"People were just generally fed up with Labour. But you can’t blame Labour for the demise of Farnworth town centre when we don’t own it. The demise of Farnworth isn’t my fault. It’s nobody’s fault. It’s the nature of how things are UK wide."

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Labour leader Linda Thomas expressed her sympathies for Mrs Gillies who was subject to a "vitriolic" social media campaign of abuse during her last year as a councillor.

But she refuted allegations that the Labour Party did not support her final fight for re-election.

She said: "When I became leader, I said my top priority is Farnworth. Jean had a lot to deal with on social media. But it's not true to say she didn't have any help."