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Geograph/Richard Williams

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Desborough residents passed a vote of no confidence in their council about 18 months ago

All Conservative members of a town council have resigned after “bullying, abuse and harassment” of the former chairman and her family.

Jane Pearce stood down from Desborough Town Council in Northamptonshire two weeks ago amid claims of abuse against her family from members of the public.

It began after a 400% increase in council tax in 2016, when the annual levy rose from £19.10 to £96.98.

Now all 10 Tory councillors have resigned from the 12-person council.

One Conservative, Ray Brooks, had resigned before Thursday, when the remaining eight followed suit.

A resignation letter said they were “sad and upset” Ms Pearce would “effectively be hounded out of office”.

“Vigorous political debate over issues of substance conducted in a civil manner is one thing. But personal abuse, intimidation and threats is quite another,” it added.

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Desborough residents at a public meeting in May 2016

After the overnight council tax rise, residents passed a vote of no confidence in the council in June 2016.

Ms Pearce, who was first elected in 2011, said “with hindsight we perhaps should have sent out some kind of warning it was coming”.

“But I absolutely whole-heartedly believe it was the right thing to do and I would do it again tomorrow in a heartbeat,” she added.

“You can’t keep expecting someone else to foot the bill because there isn’t the money.”

Ms Pearce said that she was “shocked by the ferocity” of the reaction.

“My husband’s taken abuse on Facebook. I’ve had comments made to my eldest child who’s only 15. I’ve had people try to stop children playing with my nine-year-old daughter.

“They didn’t ask for that and they don’t deserve that.”

Kettering Borough Council, who administer the town council’s elections, said it is assessing the electoral implications and options.

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