A SALISBURY city councillor has switched from the Liberal Democrats to the Labour Party.

Cllr Lynne Blackwood, who represents the St Paul ward, said the switch was "like coming home".

This means that Labour has overtaken the Lib Dems to have the second-highest number of seats on the city council.

The new make-up is: Conservative - nine, Labour - seven, Lib Dems - six and independent - one. 

Cllr Blackwood, who was elected to the council in November last year, said: “I was in fact a Labour member for a very long time in Portsmouth. When Jeremy Corbyn came in, it was too dogmatic so I joined the Liberal Democrats, so I was a member when I moved to Salisbury. 

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“I then ended up being a councillor, which was not entirely expected. I've always been a community activist and close to the grassroots. For me, when I see the local Labour Party, I find it's almost like coming home to what I feel should be done. I want to be an effective councillor. 

“Labour has changed and we are much more committed to trying to alleviate economic circumstances and working at a grassroots level for residents. 

“So for me, it's not really a defection, it's like coming back to my first love of community activism which means I am closer to my residents. I have the party structure which corresponds more to what I would like to do.”

She added: “I want to reassure my residents that, as always, I work across party and I am there for them. It has been a long and hard-thought decision. I did not do this lightly. I thought about it for a long time. 

“The more I looked at things and the more I got to know every councillor and how things worked, the more I realised that the local party policies for Salisbury were more in line with what I felt should be done for my residents. 

“It was just a question of being completely new, and then realising I wasn't in the right place and that Labour has changed. It took several months to think about it before finally taking the leap. 

“I will still continue being close to my residents, they know I will always step-up to the mark and do my best. So it's now up to me to continue being an effective councillor. 

“There's one thing I have always believed in is that we have to work cross-party, we have to collaborate.”

Reacting to the news, Cllr Victoria Charleston said: "I wish Lynne the best and look forward to continuing to work with her as part of the administration of Salisbury City Council."