A SITTING Bradford councillor has left the Labour party and will run for parliament under the Respect banner.

Councillor Asama Javed (Manningham) accused Labour of breaching "all its fundamental principles", with Respect leader George Galloway calling her defection a "major coup" for his party.

But according to Labour, Cllr Javed, whose term as a councillor was ending in May, had failed its selection process to re-run for the council.

The party has been conducting a dramatic clear-out of councillors in the run-up to this year's local elections.

Cllr Javed, who will now be Respect's parliamentary candidate in Halifax, claimed the party she has campaigned for since she was a teenager has lost all of the principles that had made her join.

"I don't feel as if I've left the party, rather the party has left me," she said.

"I cannot be a member of an organisation that breaches all its fundamental principles. There is no fairness, no equality and no justice in the party I have served since I was a teenager."

Cllr Javed, a solicitor, said she had been told she had failed Labour's selection process because she had been paying her party membership fees from a work account, and the party also thought she had been doing insufficient campaigning.

But she said while she could have remained a party member, she had become disillusioned with how it was operating locally.

Mr Galloway, MP for Bradford West, said: "It's a major coup for Respect in the run-up to this election to have someone of the prestige and intellectual firepower of Asama joining us.

"She wowed an audience in Halifax a few days ago and she will, I'm sure, wow the electorate. I listened to that speech and thought, 'a new star is born'."

A spokesman for the regional Labour Party said: "After failing the assessment process to be considered as a candidate in the upcoming local elections, Asama Javed last week decided to leave the Labour Party and resign from the Labour group on Bradford Council.

"The Labour Party did not deem her a suitable candidate, a decision which has been upheld on appeal.

"Halifax is a two horse race between Labour's candidate Holly Lynch who will stand up for local people and can offer a fresh start for the town, or David Cameron's Tory candidate."

A number of sitting Labour councillors had failed to be selected to run again, with Labour last year saying it was determined to learn the lessons from its defeat to Mr Galloway in the 2012 Bradford West by-election by fielding only candidates "we know would do Bradford proud".

One of the victims of the Labour clear-out, Councillor Ruth Billheimer (Eccleshill), had compared the cull to Adolf Hitler's infamous 'night of the long knives'.

Other prominent figures dropped by the party were Councillor Amir Hussain (Toller), Bradford Council's executive member for adult services, Councillor Ghazanfer Khaliq (Bradford Moor), a former Lord Mayor, and Councillor Rizwan Malik (Heaton), the chairman of the Council's corporate overview and scrutiny committee.