OUTSPOKEN councillor Bernie Attridge has been stripped of one of the key roles he holds on Flintshire Council.

He has been sacked as cabinet member for housing by his fellow Deeside councillor Aaron Shotton, leader of the council.

Relations between the two leading members of the controlling Labour group at County Hall in Mold have been souring for months, culminating in Cllr Attridge’s dismissal from the eight member cabinet.

However Cllr Attridge will continue as deputy council leader and number two in the Labour hierarchy.

In a statement on Twitter Cllr Attridge said: "I am shocked and saddened to have been dismissed from the cabinet of Flintshire Council.

"My many years as a cabinet member have always been focused on the needs of local people and I have always put them first, especially improving the housing stock available to vulnerable and hard-working people.

"I will take time to reflect on what right for the people of Flintshire from my position as a diligent local councillor and deputy leader of the Labour group on the council."

In a swipe at the council leader, Cllr Attridge made reference to the ongoing inquiry into Cllr Shotton’s conduct by the Public Service Ombudsman for Wales into allegations that Cllr Shotton had an inappropriate relationship with a female member of staff.

Cllr Attridge said of his sacking: "This was entirely the decision of Aaron Shotton, who is himself mired in an Ombudsman's inquiry into his conduct.

"There's no such inquiry into my behaviour.”

As well as both being long-serving representatives of Connah's Quay Central ward on Flintshire Council, the two men are also well established members of Connah's Quay Town Council.

Reacting to the announcement on social media, Rachael Louise Cox commented: "Devastating news to read.

"Bernie helped me get a council house when I needed one.

"He works hard and has helped many other people.

And Charlotte K Mallon added: "Angry and very sad news to read after everything he has done for his community.

"Bernie has always fought for the people of Connah's Quay.

"He has addressed issues loud and clear that others wouldn't dare to mumble a word."