A SECOND borough councillor has quit the Labour Party in a row over the borough's fire cover.
Mike McCusker has resigned from the council's controlling group in protest at Cheshire Fire Service's plans to scrap Ellesmere Port's third fire engine.
The Labour group voted not to oppose the controversial scheme.
Last month, this prompted Cllr Ian Ormerod to walk out of the group in disgust to sit as an independent. He will stand against county Labour leader Derek Bateman in May's elections.
Now Cllr McCusker has joined him, tendering his resignation to borough chief executive Stephen Ewbank on Wednesday night.
If, as rumoured, one more Labour member follows them, independents would be the third-largest grouping on the council.
Cllr McCusker said: 'After 40 years of loyal support to Labour, I can no longer be a member because of the decision to support the fire cuts.
'In times of a different government, Labour would have fought hard and long to stop these cuts, which could put lives at risk.'
He added: 'I've lost confidence in the working of the Labour group and the MP, due to this and other circumstances. How can I go about canvassing, asking people to support Labour, when I don't believe they are supporting residents?'
On Thursday, Cllr McCusker, who still represents his Whitby ward, wore a black tie to 'mourn of the loss of socialism in the Labour Party'.
Council and Labour group leader Fred Venables responded: 'I regret this loss of colleagues but appreciate why they took this step. We hoped Mike would reconsider.'