Of course it is nice for any political party to be a "broad church", but are we really to believe that the Tories accepting a defector from the Socialist Workers Party is anything but expediency ?
A few months ago Saj Karrim, a Lib Dem MEP who had effectively been de-selected by the Lib Dems when he was placed second on the party list, meaning he was extremely likely to lose his seat, defected to the Tories in what was meant to be a trail of glory and publicity for the Tories. As it was it made few headlines with more coverage given to the way Mr Karrim sacked his staff by text message.
Now, the Tories have taken in a former member of George Galloway's "Respect", in Tower Hamlets, and what is somewhat shocking was that this councillor is a member of the Socialist Workers party who has a record of voting against Tory motions on the council.
I am grateful to Justin Hinchcliffe for sending me the extract below by e-mail which appears to be a from a local paper article about the defection.
A RESPECT councillor, former ally of George Galloway and member of the Socialist Workers Party has dramatically defected to the Tories in what is being seen a major milestone in Tower Hamlets politics.
Ahmed Hussain, who represents Mile End East at the Town Hall, met the Tories' shadow London minister, Bob Neill, and Tower Hamlets group leader Peter Golds to seal the move this morning (Wednesday). He becomes the local party's first ever Bengali councillor and in doing so he has made the Tories, who less than two years ago boasted just one councillor in Tower Hamlets, the authority's official opposition with eight members.
Mr Neill welcomed the defection as "momentous" and predicted that Tower Hamlets could soon become 'a Tory borough.'"It's a real step forward for the party and the area," he added.Cllr Hussain, who was also being courted by Labour recently, said he had been interested by Tory Leader David Cameron's approach.He added: "I really believe Tower Hamlets Conservatives will continue to make a difference in this borough."But political rivals will be dismayed and think Cllr Hussain's reputation will now lie in tatters.
The former Labour supporter was one of MP George Galloway's '12 Bengali tigers' elected as a Respect councillor in 2006, and has voted against Conservative motions at the Town Hall since.He was one of four councillors to split from Galloway's Respect faction in October and remained a prominent member of the MP's bitter enemies, the SWP.Soon after that split, he instigated exploratory talks with the Lib Dems about forming a coalition with the Respect rebels.But since the failure of those discussions, all four councillors have been weighing up their futures as all parties tried to tempt them to their sides.