A GROUP of Labour politicians have backed their leader's decision to dismiss his deputy.

An urgent meeting of Labour councillors in Flintshire was held on Monday night amid the ongoing fall out caused by Cllr Aaron Shotton's decision to sack his colleague Cllr Bernie Attridge.

During the gathering both Connah's Quay councillors were given the opportunity to state their case before the group announced its conclusion to support Cllr Shotton, who has accused Cllr Attridge of a breach of confidence.

It came despite an explosive statement by the former cabinet member for housing, who said the leader was using his departure to distract from an ongoing Ombudsman's investigation into his own conduct.

He reiterated claims that the main reason for his expulsion from the ruling administration was for standing up for a female council employee, who is said to have been made redundant as a result of an alleged affair with Cllr Shotton.

Cllr Shotton has denied suggestions that was the cause and said Cllr Attridge was told to step down because of repeated leaks of private information.

However, in his speech Cllr Attridge slammed his former friend's behaviour, describing him as 'egotistical' and 'self-serving' and said his actions had resulted in a damaging impact on his health.

Cllr Attridge said: "I feel I have been treated very unfairly.

"As you can imagine the events of the last week have caused me great anxiety.

"To be dismissed without the opportunity to represent or defend myself has had a detrimental impact on my health and wellbeing."

Cllr Attridge said he had discussed confidential matters with fellow councillors in private on many occasions and it was common practice to do so in order to resolve issues.

He disputed the allegation that he had breached the authority's confidentiality protocols.

Cllr Attridge said: "I believe that this is bullying behaviour intended to distract the council and the public from other more serious issues which have undoubtedly brought the council into disrepute.

"People in positions of power should behave as role models. They should set the standard and behave with discretion and integrity.

"Everyone in this room needs to look inside themselves and see if they feel truly comfortable with the way politics is being played out in Flintshire."

Following the conclusion of the meeting a statement has been issued on behalf of the Labour group.

A spokesman said: "There was an urgent meeting of Labour county councillors yesterday evening at which Cllr Bernie Attridge and the leader, Cllr Aaron Shotton, addressed the group.

"The outcome was that the group accepted the reasons given by the leader, Cllr Aaron Shotton, for the actions he had undertaken."

Cllr Shotton has been asked to respond to the comments made by Cllr Attridge.

It is understood that replacements for Cllr Attridge as deputy council leader and cabinet member for housing will not be made until the council's annual meeting in May.