AN NHS worker said she is standing down as a councillor due to “near constant bullying and egotism” in the Labour Party.

Cllr Clare O’Hagan works as a domestic assistant in the NHS and is a councillor in Rock Ferry on the Wirral but won’t be seeking re-election in May after she pulled out of the race hours before the deadline for candidates in the upcoming elections.

She said this was because of alleged bullying within the North West branch of the Labour Party and controversy over the selection of party candidates in the area. She said her comments were not about the Wirral Labour Party or fellow councillors.

Cllr O’Hagan had been due to stand in Rock Ferry alongside candidates Paula Basnett and Tony Murphy after Cllr Yvonne Nolan and Chris Davies were barred from standing. Cllr Nolan is now running as an independent.

In response, a Labour Party spokesperson said candidates had to achieve at least a “minimum commitment” to their roles. As a result of Cllr O’Hagan pulling out, Labour is now only running two candidates where previously it had three councillors.

In a statement to the LDRS, Cllr O’Hagan said: “I took the difficult decision to withdraw my nomination and effectively give up a job I had so many hopes for, because I felt completely drained and exhausted by the near constant bullying and egotism I witnessed as a local councillor. This is something which I have found happens more within parties than between them.

“Too many in our politics take pride in being ruthless and conniving to further their own interests, at the expense of the people we get paid to represent.”

She added: “I get told ‘that’s the rough and tumble of the job,’ but I signed up to help people and believe that we could achieve more for our communities if there was more room for some kindness and understanding.

“I was ‘whipped’ as a Labour councillor and expected to turn up several times a week in other candidates’ wards – neglecting the people I was elected by.”

The departing councillor added: “There is little in the way of support for disabled councillors who struggle with the demands, or little sympathy for those of us with other jobs and families to look after.

“Again, I hear ‘If you can’t take the heat, etc,’ but this way of thinking excludes a majority of people from involvement in politics and leaves our politicians out of touch.

“This unfairness came to a head for me when both of my colleagues in Rock Ferry, selected by local members for their track record in working for the good of our community, were barred from standing. No regard was given to the outstanding way each performs in the role they are elected and paid to do.”

On why she pulled out the day nominations for the elections closed, Cllr O’Hagan said: “The Labour Party’s concerns didn’t enter into my thinking, just that I really need to look after myself and my family and that I can’t do that in this environment.”

A Labour Party spokesperson said: “Labour councillors are the hardest working around, and we don’t underestimate the amount of time and dedication that requires. There is a minimum commitment for anyone wanting to represent their community for Labour, and that’s made very clear from the day they sign up. That involves a considerable amount of work in their ward, and also helping support residents in those wards which don’t currently have a Labour councillor.

“It is our hope that after these elections, every ward will have a Labour councillor, and every resident can have the representation they deserve. Labour’s current Rock Ferry candidates Paula Bassett and Tony Murphy are hard-working, with a strong record of serving their community in voluntary and professional capacities, and strong links to the local community.”

Cllr O’Hagan, who joined Labour in 2016, said she now plans to step away from politics.

The full list of candidates for Rock Ferry are:

Susan Amyes (Conservatives)

Paula Basnett (Labour)

Frank Doyle (Liberal Democrats)

Margaret Kalil (Conservatives)

Craig McDonald (Green)

Tony Murphy (Labour)

Yvonne Nolan (Independent)

Helen O’Donnell (Green)

Gareth Rowlands (Green)

Tony Stanley (Reform UK)

Paul Taylor (Conservatives)