Ashfield MP Gloria De Piero’s electoral agent and office manager Melanie Darrington has left the Labour Party and joined the Ashfield Independents.
Melanie Darrington, who was in the running to represent Labour in Mansfield in the next general election, quit after 23 years as a member of the Labour Party.
In February, she came fourth in that race and Councillor Sonya Ward was selected.
Mrs Darrington was Gloria De Piero’s agent in the last two elections and has left her role as office manager.
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She said: “This is something I have done with a heavy heart. I have no axe to grind against Gloria or her office. I have lost all confidence in the ability of the Labour Party, though, to act in the best interests residents of our district. Rather than fighting for the people of Ashfield and Kirkby, the Labour Party spend their time plotting against each other. That is no way to behave in any political party.
“The Ashfield Independents have a track record of fighting tooth and nail for local people. They are united in their fight and work all year round to help.”
Councillor Jason Zadrozny, leader of Ashfield District Council said he was pleased at the latest coup for his party.
“We are delighted that someone as influential as Melanie has joined our growing team,” he said.
“More and more people are recognising that the Ashfield Independents are making a real difference.”
Mrs Darrington is the second office manager to leave the employment of Gloria De Piero’s in the last few months. Previous office manager, Councillor Lee Anderson left to join the Conservatives. Ashfield Independents recently took control of the district council after eight Labour councillors quit the party.
Mrs De Piero said she was upbeat despite the setback: “I’m always disappointed when someone leaves the Labour Party but Ashfield Labour is bigger, brighter and younger than ever before.”