A Newport city council member has switched his allegiance from Labour to the Conservatives after failing to be re-selected for his former party ahead of next year's local government elections.

Graham Berry has been a Beechwood councillor for Labour since 2017, but crossed the floor to join the Conservatives on Wednesday, September 29.

He confirmed he had made the move after the local party did not re-select him as a candidate for the ward in next year's election.

Cllr Berry said: “At long last, I have been true to myself and I am very happy to make, what might seem a very big step, but it’s not - it’s a natural progression to where I should be."

When asked why he didn’t approach the Independent Group or Liberal Democrats Cllr Berry said: "I have no allegiance to them to any shape or form."

Newport Labour said in a statement on social media on Wednesday: "Today, after failing to be reselected by members of the Beechwood Ward as part of the Labour Party's democratic process in selecting candidates for May's local elections, Cllr Graham Berry resigned his membership of the Labour Party and took up a seat with the Newport Conservative Party.

"While it is a great shame for our Labour family to lose a colleague, we would like to point out that the Labour Party selection rules and process apply to all candidates during pre-election periods.

"It is also a great shame to see a colleague who was elected on a Labour ticket ‘cross the floor’ to represent the party whose actions are currently impacting on our city’s, and indeed Beechwood’s, neediest residents."

Leader of Newport Conservatives, Matthew Evans, naturally welcomed the move. 

He said: "I am absolutely delighted to welcome Graham on board he shares a passion for putting Newport and its residents first.

"We haven’t offered him a safe seat and he knows he will have to work hard at the council elections next May, but I know he is up to the challenge.

"Having served on the same committee as him, I have seen how dedicated and conscientious he is and will make an excellent addition to our team."

Monmouth MP and Wales Office minister David Davies said: "I am delighted to formally welcome Cllr Graham Berry to the Conservative Party today.

"He was born and brought up in Newport and has shown his commitment to the City through his work in Beechwood.

"His international business experience will also be a huge asset to the Conservative Party locally."

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