WYRE Forest’s ruling Tory administration has been given a boost after a Labour councillor defected to join their ranks.

Councillor Steven Walker announced he has joined the Conservative group on Wyre Forest District Council and will serve out the remainder of his term of office representing Broadwaters until May 2019.

The father-of-two, who was recently awarded a British Citizen Award for his community work, said he had made the switch because he doesn’t support Labour policy.

Council leader Marcus Hart said he was delighted to welcome him but his former Labour colleagues expressed their disappointment.

Councillor Walker said: “I am a Conservative supporter and am delighted to be joining them. I do not support Labour’s policies nationally or locally.

“I know that the Conservative Group is a democratic and inclusive group and makes all of its decisions in the best interests of Wyre Forest residents and I support its vision and policies on economic regeneration and making the District a great place to live and work.

“I am also looking forward to working with fellow Conservative Broadwaters ward councillor, Cllr. John Desmond.”

Councillor Hart added: “I am delighted that Steve has joined the Conservative Group. Steve is a strong community champion and a very hard working ward councillor for Broadwaters residents.”

Wyre Forest Labour spokesman Stephen Brown said: “We are disappointed. It is our view that this is more about his own personal ambition.

“It should be remembered that to the best of my knowledge, Steven stood for the Conservatives in Broadwaters and failed. It was only after his defection to Labour that he managed, and with much support from us, to stand successfully.

“His constituents should rest assured that when his seat comes up for election, Labour will mount a robust challenge to him as the indications are they want a Labour representative.

“But as for what he thinks of Labour policy, a short time ago he said this about the Tories: ‘There is never any meaningful consultation with the Conservative Council.

“They are not interested in alternatives that they don’t approve of. Their way is not the way to run a council. Labour would do a better job.’”