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Picture 10 A long-serving Wirral Labour councillor, who was also an aide to Exchequer Secretary and Wallasey MP Angela Eagle, crossed the floor at last night's full council meeting and joined the Conservatives. Cllr Denis Knowles – pictured here (centre) with Tory group leader Cllr Jeff Green and Wallasey's Conservative PPC, Leah Fraser – represented the last Labour-held ward in the Wallasey constituency.

In announcing his decision in a speech at the meeting, he cited the ego of the council’s Labour leader and the plans by the Labour/Lib Dem-controlled council to close libraries and leisure centres.

He said that he was now "ashamed of Labour" and that his former party had “undermined local democracy and created bitterness". His full speech is reproduced on the Wirral Globe website.

Leah Fraser welcomed Cllr Knowles to the party, describing his move as "yet another nail in the coffin of the local Labour Party". She added: "Having lost five of the six wards in Wallasey last May, tonight they lost their sixth. The Conservative Party has changed and this decision confirms that change. There are thousands of people who, like Denis, have supported Labour throughout their lives but, after the last few months, are disillusioned and unsure who to support."

Jonathan Isaby

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