Labour loses majority on Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council
Labour has lost control of a Staffordshire authority, after two councillors stood down from the party.
Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council had a Labour majority of two following the local elections in May 2014, but Simon White became an independent in December.
Gill Burnett and Paul Waring announced they had left the party earlier.
Mike Stubbs, leader of the council, said it was a "sad day" for the party and the situation was "regrettable".
'Chosen to leave'
The councillors' decisions come after they failed to be reselected to represent the party when their seats are up for election in May.
Mr Waring said he felt he had been deselected because he had "openly criticised" the behaviour of others within the party.
"I would be surprised if more people don't leave in the near future," he said.
Mrs Burnett said she was "very disappointed" in the party locally.
"I feel that all the good we have achieved over the years has been eroded," she said.
"I feel that I was unfairly deselected. I have therefore cancelled my membership with the party."
Mrs Burnett said she would be standing as an independent candidate in May.
Newcastle Council - who is left?
The council is made up of 60 members in total:
- 29 Labour
- 15 Conservative
- 6 Liberal Democrats
- 5 UKIP
- 3 independents
- 1 Green
- 1 vacancy
Mr Stubbs said: "I found out about this this morning and it's very regrettable it's come to this.
"The two councillors were deselected by their local branches six weeks ago and, despite working with them, they have chosen to leave."
In a statement, the Labour Party said: "It is regrettable two councillors have left the party this week, but we are fully determined to continue Labour's work in Newcastle, Kidsgrove and the surrounding villages to deliver excellent services and opportunities for working people."