Cllr Linda Kelly, a councillor in Hackney has defected to the Conservatives. Ironically the directly elected Labour Mayor of Hackney, Jules Pipe, heaped praise on her at last night's Council AGM for her role as Deputy Speaker. She then announced she was joining the Conservatives.

Cllr Kelly said:

"I woke up. I saw them for who they are. Hackney Council is run like a dictatorship. You are not allowed
to disagree with Jules Pipe or his executive, they stifle all opposition."

"I wanted the voice of my constituents to be heard and I felt that the best way for this to happen was to speak from the Conservative benches."

As a Councillor she has the second highest personal vote in Hackney and her defection brings the size of the Conservative Group to five.

Cllr Michael Levy, leader of the Conservative Group on Hackney said:

"We welcome Linda with open arms. The invitation is open for other members of the Labour Group if they really want the voice of their constituents to be heard."