A FORMER Haringey mayor has defected from the Labour party to join the Conservatives.

The shock move by Alan Dobbie means the Tories will get their first seat in the council chamber in seven years.

The last Tory councillor in Haringey was Peter Forrest who represented Highgate ward between 1994 and 2002.

Mr Dobbie said the decision had not been easy to make.

He said: "For many months now I have felt uncomfortable being a Labour councillor.

"I believe urgent change and a fresh start is needed, both for Haringey and Britain. At national level we need a Government that has a sense of purpose — something that Labour seems to have lost in recent years.

"I am proud of much that Labour has achieved both locally and nationally in the past. But in recent months especially, Labour has shown how out of touch it is.

"It no longer seems to speak up for the ordinary person, focusing on the wrong issues, making bad judgements and worrying about what political posts people will hold and how much they will get for it.

“As a Conservative councillor, I will vote against Labour in the council chamber when it is right, not because I am no longer Labour."

Richard Merrin, the Conservative parliamentary candidate for Hornsey and Wood Green, said he was "absolutely delighted" by the news, adding it was a great day for Haringey's Conservatives.

Mr Merrin said: “Alan will continue to serve as a councillor for Noel Park until next May, putting the needs of Noel Park first as he always has.

"Residents, residents associations, community and voluntary groups and local businesses will still have Alan championing their interests. And thousands of Conservative voters in Haringey will now have a voice on the council.”