A Lewisham councillor who defected from Labour has labelled leader Jeremy Corbyn a racist and likened him to a dictator.

Cllr Alan Smith announced he was leaving the party in an exit speech made to the Lewisham Labour Group on Monday.

He has been a councillor since 1998 and was a deputy mayor between 2010 and 2018.

He said he still supports Lewisham Council’s administration and the borough’s three MPs and will stay on the council as an independent.

But Jeremy Corbyn’s “weasel words” on anti-Semitism, his stance on a people’s vote on Brexit, the party’s local election results, and comments on Tony Blair’s time in office, showed the “mark of a dictator,” Cllr Smith said.

Labour lost 84 seats and six councils in the May local elections. The Conservatives lost more than 1330 council seats and 44 councils overall.

Cllr Smith said Mr Corbyn would not accept “any responsibility or even consider a change of direction” for Labour’s losses.

“He is handing the UK to the Tories for a generation. And now he has taken to rubbishing the achievements of the last Labour government, seeking to airbrush it out of history. This is the mark of a weak leader, someone who lacks the intellect to amend their thinking to suit the facts, someone who does not have confidence in their own ideas. It’s the mark of a dictator,” he said.

“If I ask myself if I want to be in a party led by a privileged, privately educated, isolationist, and frankly racist leader, I would say no, but that’s where I find myself."

Cllr Smith confirmed he is in “full agreement” with Mayor Damien Egan’s manifesto and the principals of the party.

Mayor Egan has said: "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."

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.

The Labour Party has been approached for comment.