CARLISLE Conservatives have taken overall control of the city council after a Labour councillor joined them saying Labour 'doesn’t represent her values anymore'.

In a dramatic move, Parklands and Harraby South ward councillor Jo Ellis-Williams has joined the Conservatives saying she had 'had enough of infighting among the Labour ranks'.

She said: “I got involved in politics to help people, to improve lives and improve the area we live.

"It has become increasingly apparent locally that the Labour Party is no longer the place to achieve that.

“I don’t feel my core values of increasing fairness and prosperity have changed; it just doesn’t seem to me that the Labour Party in Carlisle is capable of delivering on these values anymore.

"They are too busy squabbling amongst themselves. This infighting, point scoring and focussing on the nurturing of grievance has created an ugly culture of self interest amongst some Party members.”

Ms Ellis-Williams went on to say that she would like to thank those members of the Labour Party who have been supportive and helpful over the last few years, adding that she hopes they understand that that her move is not a rejection of that friendship.

Welcoming Jo to the Conservatives, Cllr John Mallinson, Leader of the city council said: “The Conservative Group is absolutely delighted to welcome Jo to our group as well as the party.

"Jo is a well-known, well respected and a hardworking member of the council, who I am sure will be a great asset to us.

"Additionally, it now means that the Conservative group has overall control of the council, which along with a Conservative Government and a Conservative MP in Carlisle will assist us in delivering the levelling-up agenda by perusing the many government funded projects in the City at this time.”

Carlisle MP John Stevenson added: “I am delighted to welcome Jo to the Conservative Party. It is particularly good to see people with ambition join a party that has a real aspiration for the future of Carlisle and want to play their part in making it happen.

"I am sure Jo will make a valuable contribution to the party locally and to Carlisle City Council.”

The Labour Party has been approached for comment.