Lewisham’s Labour Mayor Damien Egan has not called for a by-election after Cllr Alan Smith defected from the Labour party in protest of leader Jeremy Corbyn.

The authority has 54 councillors, all of whom were Labour until the Catford South councillor's resignation from the party.

He is now Lewisham’s only independent councillor, after reportedly resigning the whip on Monday and has sat on the council since 1998.

Cllr Smith follows a number of councillors across the country who have left the Labour Party this year, including now-independent Bexley councillor, Danny Hackett.

Bexley Labour Group called for Cllr Hackett to resign his seat and seek a fresh mandate as an independent candidate.

But Mayor Damien Egan said the leadership's position on Brexit and anti-Semitism was making it difficult for some to stay in the party.

Labour has promised a vote on the final Brexit deal if it cannot get its own deal with the EU passed by MPs or if there is no general election.

Lewisham Council has called for a referendum on any terms of exit from the EU with an option for the UK to remain in the EU.

A row over anti-Semitism has also plagued the Labour party for more than three years.

“I am deeply sorry that Cllr Alan Smith has resigned from the Labour Party, his service to Lewisham residents has been long and distinguished and I know that this decision was not taken lightly,” Mayor Egan said.

“I thank Alan for his kind words to myself and our MP Janet Daby and we are glad to have his continued personal support. I will however miss Alan’s contributions to Lewisham Labour.

“Labour is at its best when we are a broad church and it is upsetting that Alan joins other long term Labour members who feel that the leadership of the Labour Party is making it no longer a home for them.

“We must not forget that Lewisham Labour is showing that even under Tory austerity we are making a difference for residents. We are delivering 1,000 new social homes, bringing council services in house, doubling the number of living wage employers and cleaning our air.

“Locally we are also committed to a People’s Vote and will campaign to stay in the EU.

“But I’m hearing more of our members say that the leadership’s position on Brexit and its lack of action on anti-Semitism are making it difficult for them to stay. It’s heart breaking to see this play out and runs contrary to Labour’s long established position as an internationalist, anti-racist party.

“We need our national party colleagues to take urgent action,” he said.

Cllr Smith confirmed his resignation on social media, replying in a tweet to 853 blog: “That’s correct. I could not remain a member whilst Corbyn is in office. I am Labour through and through and will still support Lewisham Labour.”

A 2017 petition calling for Cllr Smith’s resignation from the council reached 250 signatures for his involvement with the controversial Millwall CPO, where the preferred developer, Renewal, had deep ties with the authority. 

In an email to councillors while deputy mayor to Steve Bullock in 2017, Cllr Smith appeared to contradict the authority’s public statements that the land grab had been dropped, the Guardian reported.

The authority was mired in scandal when it emerged Steve Bullock’s predecessor as mayor, Dave Sullivan, co-founded Renewal, Lewisham’s preferred developer in the scheme to develop land around the club. 

Millwall Football Club is reported close to reaching an agreement with Lewisham and is now working on its plans to transform the stadium and the land around it.

The Association of Millwall Supporters Group have called for a by-election for Cllr Smith’s seat on Twitter.

The Labour Party have been approached for comment.