A REBEL Labour councillor has resigned from the party and will be standing as a Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) councillor to continue his battle against public spending cuts.

Cllr Kevin Bennett, who represented Fairfield and Howley since 2008, has endured a turbulent time during his tenure, and received a six-month suspension from the party in July for defying the party whip.

The decision came after he rebelled against the party's budget and followed an eventful council meeting in 2013, where the police were called to the Town Hall when he refused to leave the room due to accusations made to then Mayor, Cllr Peter Carey, regarding a 'secret handshake'.

With the ban still in effect, Cllr Bennett has decided to cut his ties with Labour after becoming frustrated with the party's 'refusal' to address the situation.

"Having heard nothing from the whips since meeting them on December 12, they then told me that they had a special Labour Group meeting on January 14, but my situation would not be raised at that meeting as it was a meeting about the boundary changes and the budget," he said.

"They said it would probably be raised at the next group meeting on January 22 but I found out that the meeting scheduled had been cancelled.

"All I ever asked for was the right to speak within the confines of the Labour group, but this was on many occasions denied to me, and I have been ‘dragged’ into the whips on numerous occasions for spurious reasons before I was suspended on April 4 2013.

"Enough is enough - I’m not prepared to put up with this any longer.

"Following the legitimate ‘call in’ I made on the decision of the outsourcing of adult social care, I was once again asked to go to a meeting with the whips on December 12.

"I was disciplined for making a comment to the press regarding the lack of democracy within Warrington Borough Council, I have found myself facing a further suspension."

Despite his latest move, cllr Bennett is determined to continue fighting cuts and privatisation in his new role.

"While I've been attacked for opposing cuts and privatisation and proposing the living wage, as a TUSC councillor going forward I will fight for these policies and against the proposed four-year austerity budget, on the basis of my trade union and socialist values not the Tory-lite agenda of new Labour," he added.