A FORMER Conservative borough councillor has joined the Labour Party. 

Cllr Sam Ronson said the step meant he was 'realigning my political membership with my personal views and principles'.

Cllr Ronson referenced the Government's move to deport asylum seekers to Rwanda and Boris Johnson's leadership when he resigned from the Conservative Party last month.

The Dalton North representative faced a call to resign yesterday from the borough council's Conservative group leader.

READ MORE: Councillor cites PM's leadership and Rwanda deportation policy as he leaves Tories

"To me, he should step down and call a by-election," said Cllr Les Hall.

"People voted for him as a Conservative councillor, they returned three Conservative councillors in that ward."

Cllr Ronson hit back, saying a by-election would not be 'a very responsible use of public funds and resources' with less than a year left until the unitary Westmorland and Furness Council began operating. 

"Any new councillor would only assume the post for a few remaining months," he said. 

"At the local level my joining the Labour group will make no difference to either party or to the effort I put into representing my ward.

"I stood for the council because I wanted to improve my area and that’s all I’ve tried to do during my time on the borough, regardless of party labels."

Cllr Ronson's move to Labour was announced at a full meeting of Barrow Borough Council on Tuesday.

"He stepped down to become an independent, assured us that he was going to remain an independent," said Cllr Hall. 

Cllr Ronson said: "When I resigned from the Conservative party, I had no immediate intention of joining another party, and I told the borough Conservative group as much.

"I wasn’t even sure I was going to remain in local government.

"I’ve spent a lot of time since then considering my position and reassessing my political values."

The departure of Cllr Ronson, who is the mayor of Dalton, in June was another blow to the borough council's Conservatives.

Three more of the party's councillors - Wendy McClure, Martin McLeavy and then leader Hazel Edwards - stood down in March of this year.

READ MORE: Senior Tory councillors including leader slam local politics as they leave party

Cllr Hall said: "The Conservative group is still the second-largest group on Barrow Borough Council.

"We will continue to serve all the voters in Barrow, we want to see the best in this town."

Cllr Ann Thomson, Labour leader of the borough council, could not be reached for comment.