ONE of the most recognisable faces in Bridgwater politics has resigned from his party, striking a shocking blow to Labour in the town.

Diogo Rodrigues, who until earlier this year stood as the town's mayor, has declared that he has resigned from the Labour Party.

Cllr Rodrigues has also been the leader of Labour on Sedgemoor District Council since May.

He was voted in as a councillor for Bridgwater Dunwear, and took over as Sedgemoor's Labour leader after the previous head, Mick Lerry, lost his seat.

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Cllr Rodrigues will remain on the council as an independent member.

During his time as mayor, Cllr Rodigues led a number of social media initiatives to connect with the public, including Q&As.

In March of this year he helped to form a twinning link with the parish of Camacha in madiera, where Cllr Rodrigues' family are originally from.

After taking over the chain in May, Cllr Tony Heywood said: "Diogo has raised the bar as far as the role of mayor is concerned."

Following his resignation from the Labour Party, Cllr Rodrigues issued a full statement to the Bridgwater Mercury.

He said: "It must be made clear this my resignation has nothing to do with our local councillors but the state of national politics.

"The result of the EU referendum was not the result I wanted but I strongly believe that the result must be respected and delivered, otherwise we are turning against democracy. The Labour party has for too long squabbled on this issue – with many Labour parliamentarians openly arguing against the democratic result and pushing to overturn it. (Tom Watsons recent interventions are most unacceptable.)

"I find myself feeling too uncomfortable with this, fed up of the internal battle and I also question what, therefore, the point of democracy is.

"Although having accepted the result of the referendum and having promised to deliver it, the Labour Party has not conveyed a strong and positive message about the future of the UK post-Brexit, instead conveying a message more on the lines of damage limitation, and I believe this is one of its biggest downfalls.

"The party has been fighting an antisemitism crisis for too long and the Labour party is now, in my view, tainted by this. I do not feel comfortable being part of a party which comes across as not having taken this form of racism seriously enough.

"The party seems to be in a mess, factions battling against democracy, struggling to convey a clear message, fighting with itself and as a result failing in its leadership. Because of this, at this moment, I feel I have been pushed away and can no longer be part of the Labour Party.

"Let there be no doubt that the Tory Party, mired in Islamophobia, are also in a mess, a much bigger mess than the Labour Party. And the UK with Jeremy Hunt or Boris Johnson as prime minister is a great risk to ordinary people across the country and either of them will simply drag our communities down to its knees."