A councillor who resigned over alleged “culturally insensitive” comments has claimed she was “verbally abused” and “threatened” before the incident and “all the council did [was] apologise to this man”.

Former Heathfield Councillor Annie Hambidge was out canvassing and knocked on a resident’s door who was not a supporter.

Council leader Paul Hodgins said: “By all accounts, the discussion escalated into an intense disagreement, during which two things were said that I feel were culturally insensitive.

He added: “As a result, Cllr Hambidge offered and I accepted her resignation.

“I have apologised myself to the resident for his experience of an incident that should never have happened.”

However, Mrs Hambidge, who has been a councillor since 2002, said she feared for her safety during the exchange.

She said: “I am a 76-year-old lady who was being verbally abused and threatened by this gentleman on the door, as he kept wanting to know where I lived.

“He shouted at me so much that my colleague came to rescue me.

“I was extremely upset and shaken by being verbally abused, and at my age felt very vulnerable, especially in these times when female politicians are being attacked.

“I wrote to the council to tell them this man harassed and shouted repeatedly at me and went berserk.

“All the council did is apologise to this man. So I say #MeToo.”

Deputy leader Pamela Fleming said: “From what I have been told I believe the council has handled this appropriately.”

The council confirmed there will not be a by-election as the local elections will be held in fewer than six months.