Swindon councillor U-turns on defection just hours after announcing he was leaving Labour for Tories

Matthew Courtliff was elected as Labour councillor for Lydiard & Freshbrook in May Credit: Swindon Borough Council

A Labour Councillor in Swindon who announced he was defecting from the Labour Party to the Conservatives has dramatically changed his mind just hours after the announcement.

Matthew Courtliff had said he was defecting just five months after being elected to the Lydiard and Freshbrook ward.

The MP for South Swindon had welcomed Mr. Courtliff to the party but the Swindon Advertiser has since reported Mr. Courtliff will be staying with Labour after all, saying he made 'a terrible mistake' and it was 'the worst 24 hours of my life'.

This evening South Swindon Labour released a statement saying they were pleased to announce Mr. Courtliff had decided to stay with the party.

Mr Courtliff himself said:

It has been an incredibly difficult two days and having spent some time meeting with Conservative councillors and MPs yesterday, I have come to the conclusion that I made a mistake in thinking that joining the Conservative Party was right for me or my constituents.

Cll Matthew Courtliff, LAB, Swindon

Earlier Labour had reacted with anger to Mr Courtliff's announcement:

To join the Conservative Party five months after being elected as a Labour councillor for a four-year term is a terribly dishonourable position and represents the worst about politics.

Jim Grant, Leader of Labour Group