A LABOUR councillor who was told she could not stand at the next election has defected to the Conservative Party.

Cllr Denise Headley, ward councillor for Edmonton Green, announced her decision to join the opposition this morning.

She was deselected by her former party for next year's elections.

Cllr Headley said the decision had not been an easy one but that the Tory party had “genuinely changed”.

“I have been a member of the Labour Party for many years, and I still have good friends within the party. However, I have become convinced that both parties have changed - the Conservative Party for the better, and the Labour Party for the worse,” she said.

“I am convinced that I will better be able to serve my constituents - and the black community - by joining the Conservatives.

“They have convinced me that they have genuinely changed, and that they want to engage with the minority communities, and to tackle deprivation wherever it occurs. I will continue to serve my local community, and then hope to be given the opportunity to fight a ward in Edmonton for the Conservatives next May."

A prominent black rights campaigner, Cllr Headley has been outspoken in the past.

She was the only one of Enfield's current Labour councillors to be told she could not stand again in 2010.

Her deselection last month was condemned by voters and other campaigners.

Cllr Headley's defection follows a similar jump by neighbouring Noel Park councillor Alan Dobbie in Haringey.

He said Cllr Headley would be sure of a warm welcome.

He said:“We're a progressive force in British politics and are committed to making life better for all our citizens.”

What do you think of the defection? Contact reporter Sarah cosgrove on 020 8884 7415 or leave your comment in the box below