Update: Here is Cllr Linda Pailing being welcomed int the Tory fold by Harlow Council leader, Andrew Johnson, shadow business minister, Mark Prisk MP and Conservaitve candidate for Harlow, Robert Halfon.

Picture 2

Picture 1 The ruling Conservatives on Harlow Council in Essex have been bolstered by the defection of Linda Pailing, who was elected as a Liberal Democrat in 2006. She has sat as an Independent for the last few months, but has this morning joined the Conservative Party.

Cllr Pailing, a former chairman of Scrutiny, explained:

"I have been impressed by the way that the Conservative budget has been
monitored and adjusted during this past very difficult financial year
for all of us.  The Conservatives made some very difficult decisions
but they have stood by them and stuck to their guns and they have been
proved right.  Andrew Johnson is building a very strong team and I want
to be a part of that team, working with him and his colleagues towards
making Harlow a better place to live and work."

She also put her decision in the national context:

"The country, under the Labour Government is in an extremely precarious state, both economically and internationally. We are fast becoming a third rate country.  The Government has been soft on dealing with the expenses scandal.  It is time for a change of Government and the only party I can see who are offering that change is the Conservatives.  For some considerable time I have thought that Robert Halfon is the right man to represent Harlow in Westminster and would have been voting for him at the next election anyway.  I now look forward to supporting his campaign in a public way."

Council leader Andrew Johnson is delighted with his new recruit:

"Linda is a very talented and well respected councillor who will make a
fine addition to the team running Harlow. Linda knows that, given the
mess the administration inherited we have had to take some very
difficult decisions, and is ready to support us in doing that, to make
Harlow a better place.

Meanwhile Robert Halfon, the Conservative candidate for ultra-marginal Harlow at the general election, gave Cllr Pailing a very warm welcome:

"Many people now feel that we need change in Harlow – a change that Robert Halfon, David Cameron and the Conservative party are offering. Like Linda, many Liberal voters who have not voted Tory before, are coming over to the Conservatives because they support our plans for a stronger NHS, Harlow Housing money for Harlow people and protection of our green belt.  Everyone in Harlow knows that the only chance to get rid of Gordon Brown and high unemployment, high taxes and high borrowing is to vote Conservative at the next election."

Jonathan Isaby

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