Barking and Dagenham councillor defects from Labour to Conservative

A former Labour councillor has defected to the Conservatives after becoming disillusioned with what he perceived as a “decline in representational democracy” in Barking and Dagenham.

Cllr Ralf Baldwin “crossed the floor” after he was suspended by Labour chiefs in October over claims he was considering making alliances with the Conservative Party.

He spent six months in the political wilderness, sitting as an independent on Barking and Dagenham Council, which almost exclusively comprises Labour councillors apart from one other independent.

Writing on a Tory blog, Cllr Baldwin said: “When you are sitting in the council chamber of Barking and Dagenham, one thing you quickly realise is the silence.”

He added: “I am with the Tories for now and the rest of my life.”

In October, he told the Post he was seriously “miffed with Labour” and was “considering crossing the floor”.

At the time he said: “I certainly am unhappy with the decline in representational democracy which has been replaced on local authorities by a scrutiny system that I believe leaves the vast majority of decision-making to less than 10 councillors – in effect, rendering the other councillors fairly redundant.”

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Cllr Baldwin represents Mayesbrook ward. He was unavailable for comment yesterday.