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The leader of the Redbridge Conservatives has called the shock defection of a councillor to Ukip “no great loss”.

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Cllr Edward Griffin, who represents Hainault, said he left his former party because he was unhappy with its direction and leadership yesterday.

But Cllr Keith Prince, leader of Redbridge Council, said it was not a blow to his group.

He added: “Ted and I have never really seen eye-to-eye.

“I like councillors who actually do work and actually turn up to meetings and the committees they are on and if they don’t I have a problem with them.”

Redbridge Council attendance records show Cllr Griffin has attended 73 per cent of meetings in the last year, missing seven out of 26.

He previously left the Tories in 2005 and became independent before re-joining the party but said he moved to Ukip because they were “more in tune with the way people think”.

Cllr Prince conceded that the eurosceptic party was gaining voters from the Conservatives in some areas but “not in Redbridge”.

“The make-up of our borough doesn’t really lend itself to people looking at voting Ukip,” he said.

“We are more educated here as well.”

Michael McGough, chairman of the Redbridge and Waltham Forest branch, said things are “looking good” for his party, which is lining up candidates for the local elections.

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