Former Labour councillor Ali Hai switches to Conservatives in Goodmayes ward

Cllr Ali Hai

Cllr Ali Hai - Credit: Archant

Independent Goodmayes councillor Ali Hai has joined the Conservatives, 16 months after quitting the Labour party.

The Redbridge Conservative group approved Cllr Hai’s membership at a meeting on Tuesday, meaning he is now a Conservative councillor.

He was elected in 2010 representing Labour but resigned from the party in March last year over “differences of opinion”.

He had previously been suspended from the group for six months after 15 breaches of the party’s code of conduct, including failing to tow the line on the lease of Goodmayes Park Extension to a football club.

Speaking then, he said: “My own personal view is that I will now be able to address residents’ views without being restricted and as a resident myself I would be pleased with that.”

As the Recorder went to press Cllr Hai said he was “delighted” to be accepted into the Conservative group but was not available for further comment.

Conservative group chairman and council leader Cllr Keith Prince called for a by-election after Cllr Hai’s defection from Labour but has not repeated the calls.

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The Conservative group will now have 30 members on Redbridge Council against Labour’s 21, seven Liberal Democrats, four Redbridge Independent Group and one independent.

Cllr Prince said: “We are pleased that Ali has decided to join the group.”

Residents who voted for a Labour councillor now have a Conservative representative.

Goodmayes Residents’ Association chairman Keith Stanbury said: “I can see some people being concerned about that but Cllr Hai has proved many times that his priority is the residents of Goodmayes and whether he’s wearing red or blue, I’ve got no doubt his main interest will always be the residents.”

Goodmayes resident Jim O’Halloran said Cllr Hai works “extremely hard” on local issues. “He’s a bloody good councillor,” he added.