A KEIGHLEY councillor is stepping down from public office following claims she has been the subject of a “vicious” hate campaign.

Labour politician Jan Smithies said she had suffered two years of personal attacks while serving as a Bradford councillor in Keighley West ward.

She said the campaign – waged by two people she refused to name – had been at its worst as she helped her partner undergo cancer treatment.

Cllr Smithies said it had played a major role in her decision not to stand for re-election next spring.

She said she had come to the decision after “much deliberation and heartache” and despite continuing to love her council work with residents, workers and community groups in Keighley.

She added: “The past couple of years in particular have been extremely hard to bear at times. Much of the worst came during a period of intense personal upset and stress.”

Cllr Smithies said in addition to the hate campaign, she had been personally affected by other issues during her time in the political arena.

She added: “I know from personal experience there are many decent, hard-working, committed and ethical councillors serving the district.

“However, there are certain attitudes and behaviours I have encountered on a personal level that would not be tolerated in most other working environments, but seem to be accepted as part of the cut and thrust of politics.”

Cllr Smithies said she was particularly disappointed the “level of animosity” towards her had limited what she could achieve for Keighley West ward and the town overall.

She said district councillors were eligible to sit on five bodies that oversaw service development, priority setting and decision-making in Keighley.

But she added: “For the past two-and-a-half years, I have been the only Keighley district councillor not selected to serve on any of these.

“I have not been allocated any roles or positions of influence for Keighley.”

Cllr Smithies’ decision to stand down, and her reasons for doing so, were contained in a document she issued to the Keighley News this week.

She refused to answer further questions on the identity of her alleged attackers, or to reveal details of the “attitudes and behaviours” she had encountered. She said she was grateful to council and Labour group leader, Cllr David Green, for his personal support during challenging times.

Cllr Green said all Labour councillors were asked which decision-making bodies they would most like to join.

He added: “I’m not aware she’s been kept back from a particular committee. I know in the past couple of years she has been on committees.”

Conservative group leader, Cllr Glen Miller, suggested Cllr Smithies reveal more details of her allegations so they could be properly investigated.

Cllr Smithies said she still passionately believed in Labour values, and would continue to work for her ward during her remaining months in office.

She added: “I will also go continue to go out campaigning for our excellent Labour prospective parliamentary candidate, John Grogan.”