A HARINGEY Labour councillor due to be deselected by his party has one-upped his colleagues by defecting to a rival party.

Councillor Brian Haley, the only black councillor to hold a cabinet post, announced his resignation today in advance of tonight's full council meeting.

Mr Haley, the former cabinet member for environment and conservation, cited his move to Haringey Liberal Democrats was due to the council being rated the worst in London.

Mr Haley, who represents St Ann's ward, has been a Labour councillor for more than 16 years and his move gives the Lib Dems their only seat in the heart of Tottenham.

The ex-Labour councillor said: "Over the last few months it has become clearer and clearer that Labour has absolutely no vision of how to lift Haringey out of its current mess. It is for this reason I have taken the difficult decision to leave Labour and join the only party that has the ideas and ability to turn things around.

"Haringey Liberal Democrats are the only party with the drive and determination to provide local residents with the quality of service they deserve. I would urge anyone wavering in their support for Labour to join me in backing the Liberal Democrats which offers a positive change locally."

There is now just four seats between the ruling Labour party and the opposition Lib Dems.

The party, headed by council leader Claire Kober, was dealt an earlier blow in July 2009 when Noel Park ward councillor Alan Dobbie defected to the Conservatives.

Tottenham will now become a major battleground in the upcoming May elections as the Lib Dems push to take power from Labour's hands.

Councillor Robert Gorrie, leader of Haringey Lib Dems, said: "I'm delighted that Brian has decided to support the Liberal Democrat campaign to bring real change and a fresh start to Haringey after 40 years of Labour control. He will be a welcome addition to our local party."