SOUTHEND Council’s Labour Group leader has threatened legal action after being branded a bullying, misogynistic, narcissist by a member of his party.

Stephen George, a long-standing councillor who has been prevented from standing for re-election by the Labour Party, delivered a scathing and unprecedented tirade against Southend Labour Group leader Daniel Cowan.

Mr George, councillor for Milton Ward, and Westborough’s Aston Line, have both been deselected by Labour’s National Executive Committee and cannot now stand for Labour in May’s elections.

Mr George, a former council leader, became a Labour Party member more than 40 years ago at 16-years-old and won six of the seven elections he fought.

At a full council meeting on Thursday, he branded the shock decision as “appalling” and directed his anger towards Mr Cowan. Mr Cowan has branded the comments “slander” and stated he will be contacting his lawyers.

During the meeting, Mr George said: “I had hoped, if successful in May, I could have retired on my terms when we have all-out elections in 2026 and that the George family record of serving Southend for nearly 70 years would remain relatively unblemished.

“I have to be honest and say that the way Aston Line and I have been treated is nothing short of appalling.”

Mr George, who followed his father into Southend politics, advised Labour Group colleagues to elect a new leader. He said: “For your sake and Southend Labour’s sake I suggest at the group AGM that you elect a leader you can be proud of because quite frankly Southend deserves better than a bullying, coercive, controlling egotist.

“Southend deserves better than a spiteful, toxic, vindictive misogynistic narcissist. A man whose relentless pursuit of power over the last five years has come at the cost of truth. I will leave the chamber as a Labour councillor with my head held high, confident that I’ve fulfilled my father’s maxim to always do my best even if at times I didn’t succeed.”

Mr George revealed it had been suggested by Mr Cowan’s St Laurence Ward colleague, Lydia Hyde, that the national panel had wanted “more diverse” candidates.

He added: “In other words I was the wrong sex and the wrong colour but I don’t think diversification had anything to do with it. Instead, I think the reason lies with the fact I was willing to stand up to the current leadership.”

Speaking after the meeting, Mr Cowan said: “I won’t be making any public response to slander and I will leave that to my lawyers.”