Councillor reportedly dropped for not attending group meetings

Sandra and Sandy

Sandy Martin is hoping to take over from Sandra Gage as county councillor for Rushmere. - Credit: Office of Sandy Martin

A Labour councillor who previously lodged a complaint of bullying by her group leader was reportedly told she would not be re-selected - because she had not attended group meetings, party sources have said.

Outgoing councillor Sandra Gage has been replaced as candidate for the Rushmere division 18 months after a complaint she had lodged of bullying by her group leader Sarah Adams was upheld by the county council.

Ms Gage would not comment on the reports about being told she would not be re-selected, referring enquiries to Labour officials - but said she strongly supported former Ipswich MP Sandy Martin's bid to replace her as the Rushmere Labour councillor.

Ms Gage had been leader of the Labour group at the county council from  2017, when Mr Martin was elected to parliament, until the end of the year - when Ms Adams took over.

She had won Mr Martin's council seat after he stood down following his election to parliament.

Sarah Adams

Sarah Adams took over from Sandy Martin in St John's Division in 2017. - Credit: Gregg Brown

In July 2019, Ms Adams was told to make a public apology during a full meeting of the county council after a standards hearing over bullying allegations - but she retained the leadership of the group.

Ms Gage has not attended group meetings and was not part of the Labour shadow administration at Endeavour House.

It has now emerged that the Suffolk Labour group felt it would be better to find a new candidate for the Rushmere division seat in this year's election.

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When Mr Martin decided to seek re-election to the council, he was asked to put his name forward for it and won selection.

The seat is normally held by Labour - although it was represented by Conservative councillor Judy Terry between 2009 and 2013.

While Ms Gage faced tensions within the Labour group at the county council, she has continued to play a full role in the Ipswich Borough Labour group, where she represents the Rushmere Ward - which has slightly different boundaries to the county division.

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