IN a shock move, one of Lewisham's only Tory councillors has defected to the Labour Party over government austerity measures.

Grove Park ward's Councillor David Britton, a former Conservative group leader who joined the local authority in 1998, said he had found his previous position "impossible".

He said: "The policies of this government are damaging the lives of the most needy and that is not what I am in politics to do. 

"I find it impossible to continue to defend the government to the people that I have represented on the council since 1998." 

He added: "This decision has been difficult to make, but in the end my political principles have guided me to joining the Labour Party."

The decision leaves Lewisham Conservatives with only one councillor - fellow Grove Park representative Councillor Christine Allison.

A Conservative spokesman said: "Following his admission that he has held discussions with the Labour Party with the stated intention of joining them, Cllr.David Britton has been expelled from the Conservative Party and from the Conservative Group on Lewisham Council."