Coun Dave Ledger, who represents the Choppington ward, was the county council’s deputy leader when the Labour Party was in power at County Hall between 2013 and 2017.
Together with former leader Grant Davey, the pair announced they were standing down as the Labour Group’s leadership in January 2019, in order to allow ‘a new team with new ideas to formulate the manifesto and political campaign for the future’.
The new leader, Coun Susan Dungworth, and deputy leader, Coun Scott Dickinson, took over last May.
Coun Ledger, who had already said he would not stand as a councillor again in 2021, explained that he had resigned from the party for ‘personal reasons’, but that he was ‘not going to go into detail’.
“I’m 75 years old and I’ve been at the forefront of politics for many, many years,” he said. “I was going to stand down in 2017, but was persuaded not to and looking back, that was the wrong decision.”
In a reference to allegations over wrongdoing at the council’s former company Arch, during the time he was chairman, he added: “All of the rubbish put out about me, which was erroneous, affected my family.”
Coun Ledger said that it was now ‘just the right time to do it’, given that he ‘wasn’t producing anything within the party’, but that there was ‘no rancour’.
“I didn’t want to cause a by-election, there’s a cost to the county council and it’s not sensible, so I will carry on representing the community,” he continued. “I still have lots to do, so hopefully I will deal with those and then go out quietly at the next election after 30 years of service.”
A spokesman for the Northumberland Labour Group said: “Coun Ledger has left the Labour Party for personal reasons which means he no longer serves as a Labour councillor on Northumberland County Council.”