A LABOUR rebel who once quit a cabinet role and his party over plans to inflict "devastating" cuts on Southampton has resigned.

Keith Morrell has stood down from his indepedent Coxford seat with immediate effect.

Mr Morrell, who served the Coxford ward since 2010, made the announcement just eight months into his new term - having retained his seat in May last year.

It also comes just seven months after former councillor Morrell made the decision to – along with his group’s other two members Don Thomas and Tammy Thomas, to disband Putting People First so the trio could “pursue their own political directions”.

Mr Morrell also claimed that it was “business as usual” despite the split, with the members adding they would still fight “tooth and nail” for their constituents.

However, the former group chief has not revealed why he has taken the shock decision to stand down, which now leaves the ward with just two of its three Southampton City Council seats filled – held by Don Thomas and Tammy Thomas.

A by-election is to be held soon, although a date has yet to be announced.

Councillor Don Thomas paid tribute to his former group colleague.

He said: “I worked alongside Keith for many years we both believed that cuts to council jobs and facilities were not necessary and a viable alternative was possible.

"Keith led successful campaigns to save many council facilities and fought hard for the residents of Coxford, Aldermoor, Lordshill, and Lordswood.

“Very recently we went our separate ways, but nothing can take away the political accomplishments Keith achieved.

“I wish Keith well for the future.”

As reported, Putting People First, comprising all three Coxford councillors made the decision to disband in June last year, after six years together.

The group was originally created in 2012 after Councillor Don Thomas and Cllr Morrell split from the ruling Labour party for voting against budget cuts to Oaklands Swimming Pool in Lordshill.

They named the party ‘Councillors Against Cuts’.

Thanks to their efforts, the pool was saved and reopened in 2014.

In 2016, the centre celebrated its 30th anniversary.

The duo later renamed the group ‘Putting People First’, and they were then joined by Cllr Tammy Thomas following the 2016 elections.