A veteran councillor has become the second in Renfrewshire to walk out of the Labour Party within a month.

John Hood, a representative for Johnstone South and Elderslie, has handed in his resignation after almost 30 years of membership.

He follows in the footsteps of former group leader Eddie Devine, who quit in October after more than four decades.

Councillor Hood, first elected in 2003, said it was a “heart-breaking” decision for him to make on Wednesday.

The former environment spokesperson, who has undergone treatment for a benign brain tumour, said he had become “disillusioned” with the party.

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He said: “I don’t want to be in a party that doesn’t want me.

“It’s come to light that senior members, not local, don’t want me in the party. It’s a sad day because I’ve been in the party for near enough 30 years.

“I’ve had 20 years as a councillor and I’ve worked hard, I’ve worked damn hard. I’ve nearly killed myself in certain areas, because I’ve really not been well.

“I’ve had a brain tumour, had it operated on and then it’s come back and I’ve had radiotherapy and now it’s come back again, and it’s given me epilepsy as well.

“I work really hard in the council, but I can’t be in a party that doesn’t want me.”

Glasgow Times:

Labour had 15 councillors elected in May but recent resignations leave them with 13 in the council chambers.

Councillor Hood echoed claims of “back-stabbing” in the party, which were first aired by councillor Devine last month.

He said: “In the last council term, the party was split down the middle.

“There was so much back-stabbing in that five years, it was unbelievable.

“I tried to stay neutral within it. I didn’t walk away from the Labour group, but with that I was very disillusioned.”

Councillor Hood said he didn’t have issues with the party’s local leadership and has a close friendship with current group leader councillor Iain McMillan.

He said: “When I made the decision, it was heart-breaking.

“I’m Labour through and through and the values of the Labour Party that I have are very, very strong.

“I’ll always be a Labour man. I might not be in the party but I’ll always be a Labour man. 

“I have nothing against the leadership of the local group, but nationally I think they’ve got a lot of things wrong.”

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He vowed to continue to “work hard” for his constituents.

Councillor McMillan said he was “sorry” to see his friend go but wished him well.

He said: “I am very disappointed that John has left the Labour Party.

“John was a hard-working councillor and a valued member of the Renfrewshire Labour team.

“I look forward to hearing more about his allegations, which I know nothing about.

“Just over six months ago, John and I were voted in by the people of Johnstone South and Elderslie as Labour councillors and it’s a pity that he has now chosen to become an independent councillor.

“John has been not only been my colleague for a number of years, but a very close friend and I am sorry that he has made this decision. I wish him well.”

Scottish Labour was contacted for comment.