A COUNCILLOR has spoken of her relief after being cleared of assaulting an elderly political rival.

Penny Jackman had been accused of slapping Mike Beggs and damaging his teeth during an election night bust-up in the New Forest.

But her three-month nightmare ended on Wednesday, when police said they were taking no further action.

Cllr Jackman said: “I am delighted to be completely exonerated. I would like to thank my family and friends for their loyal and unwavering support during what has been a most difficult and distressing period.”