Departing Alton Independent Socialist councillor Paula Langley has praised the town’s residents for their support during her four years on East Hampshire District Council, saying: “We couldn’t have achieved anything without the people behind us.”

There were also warm words for the ruling Conservatives on EHDC after they responded to a call led by Cllr Langley and her party colleague Cllr Stephen Dolan to do more for Altonians living in “in-work poverty”.

She said: “They rose to the challenge with us. We now have a welfare fund and strategy and every penny of the EHDC portion of the council tax rise this year will go to that fund.”

But Cllr Langley’s leaving statement contained criticism of Alton Town Council, from which her husband Gideon Cristofoli resigned.

She said: “With my husband resigning due to the way he was treated by the Liberal Democrat leadership at Alton Town Council, we heard from many people who had also felt bullied on social media and at meetings by the same group.

“I had to complain after one particular meeting where the then leader and a fellow Lib Dem councillor treated me so rudely in front of other members of the public I was forced to leave. I faced years of being ignored when I said hello.

“We had to make sure that any ideas we had were put through other channels so they would even be considered. It was infuriating and came from a party that often accused others of playing politics.”

No Liberal Democrats will be standing for election to Alton Town Council on May 4, so it was left to Cllr Steve Hunt – Lib Dem leader at EHDC – to respond to Cllr Langley.

He said: “Paula Langley is perfectly entitled to her views. However there is little point in continuing a dialogue over things that have nothing to do with Alton Town Council going forward. People are sick and tired of local politicians fighting and it is time to move on.”