A VETERAN county councillor will not be up for re-election in May after being ousted as a candidate by the Tory party.

Irish Pummell, who has represented Wickford on Essex County Council for nearly 30 years, was deselected in favour of former Basildon Borough Council Malcolm Buckley, who is now its cabinet member for regeneration.

The decision has led to a bitter spat within the Conservatives with some members branding it an outrage the stalwart was rejected after 40 years in the party.

A serving Basildon Tory councillor who refused to be named said: “Iris Pummell has been a firm face for our party in Wickford for three decades and is a popular county councillor, this is no way to repay her just to make way for someone who wants to further their political career.”

Mrs Pummell said: “To be rejected now, after long years of service is hurtful."

Mr Buckley said: “By serving Wickford at both borough and county level I would be able to better represent residents."