A councillor who stuck up for a colleague found out he was losing his Labour membership via an email bearing the wrong name – then had party subs taken from his bank the day after.

Long-standing councillor Mike Priestley received an email saying he couldn’t stay in the Labour party if he didn’t rejoin Conwy county council’s Labour group.

Both he and Cllr Ronnie Hughes quit the group after party colleague Cllr Penny Andow was ousted from a prestigious committee using a “bingo machine”.

They protested over the conduct of Cllr Chris Hughes, who challenged Cllr Andow for the chairmanship of the health and social care scrutiny group.

He told colleagues he “could do with the extra money” and “might need to visit a food bank” if he didn’t get the £8,700 post.

Cllr Ronnie Hughes and Cllr Priestley left the Labour group but said they wanted to remain in the party and called for Cllr Andow to be reinstated to her role before rejoining the group.

That didn’t happen and and both men were given their marching orders by Labour recently, with Cllr Priestley critical of the party’s lack of concern.

Cllr Priestley said: “We both received emails. Mine was addressed to Cllr Priestley-Hughes which was annoying.

“Basically they didn’t ask about our welfare or what my reasons were for taking the stand I did.

“I was happy to rejoin the group if Penny regained her position but that has not happened.

“I never left the Labour party, they left me, but they were not bothered about why I took my stand or my wellbeing.

“The day after I received the email they took my monthly subs off me which I have asked them to refund.”

Cllr Priestley said he will continue to look after the interests of his constituents on Marl ward in Llandudno Junction as an independent county councillor.

Cllr Ronnie Hughes, who revealed he will stand down at next year’s council elections, said he was sticking to his principles.

He said: “It’s a shame that’s the way it’s ended, as I’ve been in the Labour party for more than 50 years, but that’s the way it is – que sera.

“It seems me and Mike (Priestley) were the only ones in the wrong but I believe what I did was the right thing.

“We have both done what we did on a point of principle.

“They told me I was getting kicked out and I told them I wasn’t worried about it.”

Cllr Hughes said he would continue to work for his constituents in Tudno ward, Llandudno, until next year’s elections and felt his record stood the test.

He said: “I’m proud of all the things I achieved as Leader of the council and I’m proud to have represented the people of Tudno.

“I’m still allowed to do my constituency work but I can only vote in full council meetings now. You just keep going.”

A Labour party spokesman said a condition of membership for councillors was to serve in its council group.

He said both men were given 14 days to re-register as group members.

He added: “In practice they were given considerably longer to reconsider before the auto-exclusion was made final.

“With regard to the subs payment, it is a matter for the councillor concerned to cancel their direct debit with the bank.”

An expert in health and social care Cllr Andow held the scrutiny committee chair for three years but was forced to go head-to-head against her Labour group boss.

Despite her superior experience in the field, he threw his hat in for the £8,700-a-year role and told councillors he “could do with the extra money”.

Some councillors were controversially excluded from a vote between the pair because of unpaid subs to the party and the poll was tied at 3-3.

It was then party bosses produced a random number generator “bingo machine” and settled the race by asking them to remotely choose an odd or even number, with Cllr Hughes prevailing.

Cllrs Priestley and Ronnie Hughes subsequently resigned the Labour group in protest at Cllr Chris Hughes’ behaviour.

Speaking in October Cllr Hughes said he’d made “a crass comment” which he “immediately regretted” in relation to food banks.

He added it would be “naive in the extreme” to think “financial reward” did not play a part in applying for the committee post.

Cllr Andow said: “I’m really disappointed that Labour’s central office haven’t contacted me or returned my emails – I’m in no man’s land.

“I’ve lost all my faith in Labour and to treat Ronnie and Mike like that was terrible.”

Cllr Chris Hughes has declined to comment further.