A GORNAL councillor has labelled Dudley Council’s Conservative group ‘misogynistic’ after she was deselected.

Cllr Anne Milward was deselected on Monday from her seat in the Gornal ward and will not run for re-election in May.

But following the recent deselection of councillors Karen Shakespeare and Tina Westwood, cllr Milward, a former mayor, believes deselection appears based on gender rather than the ability of those female councillors to attract votes.

It now leaves only nine women in the group out of a total of 46.

She said: “Yes it’s outright misogyny, I am the third woman who has been deselected now and it really has turned into an old boys’ club.

"They are trying to surround themselves with male loyalists.

“I have represented the ward for 17 years in two separate stints, starting in 2002, it’s an utter disgrace, it was all contrived.

“I was sent an emergency request for an interview for my position as ward councillor … I was given no reason for the emergency interview but was subsequently told that I had not been successful, again without reasoning."

She added: "How I can be a councillor for seventeen years, have an exemplary record and then suddenly I’m not fit for candidacy is beyond me.

“There are now only nine women left in the Conservative group out of a total of 46 so it’s not looking good.

"I spoke out in November over the Black Country plan and the decision to leave that and I was put through a disciplinary process because of it.”

Cllr Milward also claimed the Tory Party has ventured further to the right over the last few years and is “no longer the party she knew and loved.”

Cllr Milward continued: “I’m an old-school liberal and I think it is time for me to walk away.

"It’s not the party that I know and loved.

“I’m tough and I can take it but it really is a worrying trend.

"It seems to be anyone who is willing to speak out is kicked out basically.”

Cllr Milward is not considering running as an independent.

When asked how she thinks the Conservative group will fare in the local elections in May, she said: “I think the council will struggle because, let’s be honest, the national picture has not been good and I think it will be difficult for them.”

The Dudley Conservative Party did not respond to Mrs Milward’s claims when approached for comment.