SHOWDOWN talks are being held between Stroud’s Labour leaders and three disgruntled councillors in a bid to dissuade them from resigning the party whip, the SNJ understands.

The trio of councillors who could leave the Labour group and become independent members are believed to be unhappy about a number of issues, including having to pay more for a party organiser and changes to sheltered housing services.

Councillor Karon Cross, who represents the Cainscross ward and used to lead the Labour group at the district council, and Cllr Roger Sanders (Lab, Uplands), previously the council’s executive member for regeneration, submitted a joint letter of resignation last week but it is currently unclear whether it has been accepted by the Labour leadership.

Their party colleague Mark Rees (Cainscross) is also considering walking away from the Labour group and becoming an independent but has yet to submit a formal letter of resignation and was due to meet party officials last night (Tuesday, July 16) to discuss his grievances.

Cllr Rees, who is SDC’s vice-chairman, is known to be disappointed at missing out on the chairmanship of the council after his fellow party members backed the Liberal Democrat candidate, Cllr Dennis Andrewartha, for the role rather than him.

He is also understood to be unhappy at being asked to contribute more from his council allowance to pay for the party organiser John Drake, who has been employed by Labour in the run-up to the 2015 general election as it bids to win back the Stroud seat it lost to the Tories in 2010.

Asked yesterday whether Labour would be accepting the councillors’ resignations, SDC’s leader Geoff Wheeler (Lab, Dursley) said no final decision had been made.

"Talks have been taking place and they will continue to take place," he said.

"I will be speaking to the members who put in the initial resignation letters. There main grievance has been the contribution from councillors to the employment of a constituency organiser."