A COUNCILLOR has fired a parting shot at his former Labour colleagues after crossing the floor to join the Tories.

Upton ward councillor Bharat Mittal has resigned from the Labour party claiming he is 'completely disillusioned’ with the dictatorship-like leadership of the local party.

However, local Labour chiefs have shrugged the criticism off as bitterness after Cllr Mittal was rejected to stand again as a Labour candidate.

Cllr Mittal, who will now stand as a Tory candidate in May’s local elections, told The Observer: “Becoming part of the Slough Labour councillor group was like entering an autocratic feudal system run by Rob Anderson [council leader] and James Swindlehurst [deputy council leader].

“Their behaviour has led to divisions and internal conflict. That is the real reason why the Slough Labour Party is in 'special measures’. It was distressing to see how much effort and energy is expended on infighting – this explains why the Labour councillors achieve so little for Slough residents.

“Each faction has their own agenda, own pet projects, there is no cohesive strategy for Slough. Decisions are taken for the benefit of Labour councillors, not Slough residents.” He will continue as an independent in his Cllr role until May's elections.

A panel of Labour members, mostly external to Slough, rejected Cllr Mittal’s application to stand again as a Labour candidate last year. He appealed and was re-interviewed by an independent appeal panel, but was told again in August he 'did not meet the standards required of a Labour candidate’.

The Slough Labour Party says this is when Cllr Mittal began to express concerns about the group leadership, despite being among members who voted to re-elect the leader and deputy leader in May. Cllr Swindlehurst said: “He clearly did not feel as he claims a few months ago, when he was enthusiastically applying to stand again for Labour and when he voted to re-elect the group’s current leadership.

“The Labour Group wishes Cllr Mittal well in his new party, and hope he fares better than the other various examples of those who have defected to the Tories in Slough for opportunistic reasons, promptly to sink without trace.” But Cllr Mittal added: “I was elected by the residents of Upton ward to represent them, which I tried to do honourably and as effectively as I was allowed to.

“As a solicitor my approach and my ethical stance has put me at odds with Cllrs Anderson and Swindlehurst.”