A Barnet councillor has resigned from the Labour Party over “institutional anti-Semitism” and the party’s stance on Brexit.

Cllr Jessica Brayne, who represents Underhill ward, said she believed the Labour leadership had “utterly failed in its duty to tackle anti-Semitism” and was “failing the country on Brexit”.

Her decision came after nine Labour MPs left the party to join the newly formed Independent Group – many of them citing similar reasons for quitting.

Cllr Brayne, who has been a Labour member for six years and a councillor since 2016, published her resignation letter on her Twitter account on Saturday (February 23).

Addressed to Labour’s General Secretary Jennie Formby, it states: “I cannot in good conscience remain a member of a party I believe to be institutionally anti-Semitic and complicit in running down the clock to a no-deal Brexit against the interests of this country.”

Her letter goes on to reference the closing down of open debate and the rise of a bullying culture within Labour that has seen political disagreement replaced by personal abuse.

Cllr Brayne, who will now serve as an independent councillor, made it clear that her problem was not with the Barnet Labour Group but with the wider culture within the party.

She told the Barnet Times: “All the Barnet Labour councillors are very sound and stand up to anti-Semitism. I want to continue working with them, and they are all very good friends of mine.

“I have learnt a lot from them – especially from (Barnet Labour leader) Barry (Rawlings), who is a very principled man.

“But I feel the party under Corbyn has changed out of all recognition from the party I joined. Debate has been completely shut down.”

Cllr Brayne, who used to be secretary of Chipping Barnet Constituency Labour Party, said the “healthy conversations of the past” had been replaced by “slate voting” according to previously agreed positions.

She said while she had experienced some hostility, she was more concerned about the bullying that had been directed at Jewish colleagues and friends.

Barnet has a higher Jewish population than any other local authority in the UK, and anti-Semitism was a major issue in last year’s council elections, which saw the Conservatives increase their majority.

After the elections, senior Labour figures such as shadow chancellor John McDonnell pledged to crack down on anti-Semitism within the party.

But Cllr Brayne said she had seen “very little done” to tackle the problem.

She said: “In my own dealings with compliance, I have found they have been very unresponsive and difficult to get hold of.

“It feels like they are massively under-resourced. I have not seen the action I would have expected to have seen.

“(Momentum chief) John Lansman and (deputy Labour leader) Tom Watson have been very good, but I have not seen any real leadership from Jeremy Corbyn. If he had led from the start, I do not think we would be in this situation.

“I think what has happened is a culture has been created where it is more acceptable to be anti-Semitic. It is becoming normal – and that terrifies me. I think Labour is complicit in having allowed that to happen.”

“I think the country is becoming more racist, and both main parties are responsible in part.”

Cllr Brayne said she did not think the Labour leader recognised anti-Semitism.

She said: “I am not sure how he could be in denial when there are so many people telling him it is a problem.

“I don’t see anti-Semitism being dealt with under Corbyn.”

But Cllr Brayne said she did not think all hope was lost, and that if a different leader were to take charge and crack down on anti-Semitism, there could be a way forward for Labour.

She added that on Brexit, the hard-left element of the party had taken charge and was being allowed to dictate the policy against the wishes of most members.

Her letter states: “Brexit is now less than five weeks away, there is no longer time for a general election to be called and yet the Labour Party has failed to back a people’s vote.”

Cllr Brayne’s resignation leaves the Barnet Labour Group with 24 seats to the Conservatives’ 38.

Labour leader Cllr Barry Rawlings said: “It is very sad to see Cllr Brayne go. She has been a very good colleague, and she is a very good councillor for the people of Underhill.

“I think the Labour Party still has issues with anti-Semitism, and there is concern it has yet to clarify its position on Brexit.

“I share some of those concerns, but for me the proper place is to fight for what I believe within the party. It is sad that people feel they have to leave the party rather than change it.

“I do see some improvements, but there is a long way to go. There is a leadership role in that – and with local members fighting within the party to get rid of this infection of anti-Semitism.

“I think the people in Barnet and people nationally need a Labour Party with the values to turn austerity around.

“We do need to take a look at ourselves as a party and ensure we remain true to those values.”