A CITY councillor has cut ties with Oxford's Labour party after alleging he has been 'bullied' by fellow members.

David Henwood has resigned the Labour whip and switched to independent, claiming his complaints of bullying have not been acted upon.

This has been disputed by the council leader, however, and the party has said that there are allegations of bullying against Mr Henwood himself.

The councillor will remain the Oxford City Council member for Cowley, and retain his Labour membership, but will not represent the party.

Mr Henwood alleges he has been bullied on three separate occasions in the past two years, by other Labour councillors, but says no action has been taken despite reporting the incidents.

The design and technology teacher said: "It [bullying] is a hideous thing to do. I feel there has been no action within the group and there is no place for me there.

"I feel that the current dismissive attitude is the wrong attitude.

"I am absolutely dismayed that this has been allowed to happen."

The Littlemore resident, who is also a member of Littlemore Parish Council, has been a Labour councillor for four years but handed in his resignation last week.

As well as the bullying issue, he said he wanted to become independent due to 'irreconcilable differences' on certain policies.

He added: "Cowley in my view requires strong independent councillor, capable of representing and challenging the status quo.

"I want to continue to represent Cowley, and I believe I can do that best by being independent."

Mr Henwood's decision followed a meeting with council leader Susan Brown and Oxford City Labour group chief whip, Sian Taylor.

A statement released by the group said the pair met with Mr Henwood after receiving 'allegations by a number of people of bullying by Cllr Henwood in relation to his role on Littlemore Parish Council'.

This arose after a heated parish council meeting last week, in which Mr Henwood opposed a plan to hike the parish precept. 

Labour's statement added: "No disciplinary action was proposed against Cllr Henwood as these allegations related to his role on a different council."

Mr Henwood denied being involved in bullying and said he has offered the council leader recordings of the meeting to prove this.

Ms Brown said: "We in the Labour Party expect all councillors to uphold the highest standards in public life, and bullying has no place in the way we conduct our business at any level.

"I take any allegations of bullying extremely seriously.

"There are independent and fair processes to investigate allegations of improper conduct by councillors and we need to ensure these processes are used appropriately and adhered to."

She stressed that Mr Henwood was not asked to leave the group.

On the claim that bullying was ignored, she added: "Cllr Henwood raised an issue with me some time ago about a disagreement with another councillor, which he then asked me not to pursue further."