A SENIOR Coventry Labour party activist and lawyer has quit the party and joined the Conservatives.
Alan East had stood in council elections for Labour and lost in Bablake, where there is considerable opposition to Labour council-backed plans for homes on green belt.
He was also considered an ally of the late Coventry City Council deputy leader Phil Townshend.
Coventry Conservatives – in opposition at the Council House – are viewing Mr East’s defection as a major coup for them.
They said Mr East, who stood as a Labour Party candidate last year and in 2015, had joined the Conservatives having ‘fully considered’ the direction of the Labour Party under the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn and the ‘negative and uninspiring’ campaign of Sion Simon, the Labour candidate for West Midlands Mayor.
In a statement, Mr East said: “It has become apparent to me in recent months that the Labour party does not offer a credible opposition nationally and is failing Coventry locally.
“The campaign of Sion Simon is extremely negative and uninspiring when compared to the positive vision for our city and region outlined by Andy Street.
“I was keen to support Andy which made my position in Labour untenable, particularly when I considered the direction the party is taking nationally under Jeremy which has been overtaken by the hard left.
“The Labour Party I joined no longer exists, and I don’t believe it will re-emerge even if a new leader is elected. I wanted to be in a party that was positive about our city’s future and the future of our country.
“Theresa May’s Conservative party and the positive campaigning undertaken by the Coventry Conservative Party made it clear to me that Labour no longer represented my views.”
Councillor Ken Taylor, Chairman of Coventry Conservatives, said: ‘I am delighted to welcome Alan to our team here in Coventry. He has stood twice for Labour in target seats and is a senior activist for the local party.
“Alan has come to the realisation that Labour both in Coventry and nationally are now governed and led by the ultra left which represents a very real threat to the future of the Labour Party and indeed our city.
“We in the Conservative Party are a broad church, we welcome Alan to our party and we encourage other moderate members of Labour to join us.”