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Tory member of 60 years defects to Labour as he's sick of the way poor people are being treated

Former head of David Cameron's local Tory branch defects to Labour

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Bob Hayward joined the Conservatives as a teenager but resigned his membership after more than 60 years over concerns for the "poor and needy"

UPDATE: The picture we used earlier was of the wrong Bob Haywood we apologise for any inconvenience.

A former head of David Cameron's local Tory branch has abandoned the party and defected to Labour.

The Mirror reported that Bob Hayward joined the Conservatives as a teenager but resigned his membership after more than 60 years over concerns for the "poor and needy".

Now he will cast his vote for Duncan Enright, the long-shot Labour candidate in the Witney by-election to find a replacement for the quitting ex-PM.

The former Chipping Norton branch chair said he was with Mr Cameron when he revealed his leadership bid in 2005.

But he felt "uncomfortable" voting Tory at the same time as pledging himself to religious group Christians Against Poverty.

He said: "I strongly feel the Labour Party has a natural leaning towards helping the poor and needy and that is why I shall be voting for Duncan Enright.

"Labour will always protect the vulnerable and look after those in real need.

"That isn't to say the other political parties will not, but one has to make a choice and mine will be for Labour."

The 79-year-old grandfather-of-four joined Labour just before last year's general election but said this is the first time he has spoken publicly about his change of heart.

He said he served as Chipping Norton branch chairman for three years. The current chairman, Guy Wall, stressed Mr Hayward’s term ended in 2008 before Mr Cameron became Prime Minister.

Mr Hayward said he switched parties over the rise of poverty and food banks, adding: "I did it with some regret. But we only have one vote, don't we, and I wouldn't abstain."

Mr Hayward said he would not condemn Mr Cameron or Theresa May and was not "against the Tory party".

But asked if Mrs May's pitch for the "centre ground" matched up to reality, he told the Mirror: "She's going to say it isn't she because that's where the votes are.

Tory barrister Robert Courts is the runaway favourite to win the by-election in Witney, which elected Mr Cameron with a thumping 60% of the vote last year. Labour won just 17% of the vote.

US Democrat Bernie Sanders' brother Larry has been selected as the Green candidate.

Mr Hayward’s comments came as a Lib Dem peer defected to the Tories in protest at her party's stance on Brexit .

Baroness Manzoor said the Conservative Party was now her “natural home”, adding: "I could not support the leadership of a party that calls itself democratic and then refuses to acknowledge the will of the people in a referendum.”

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