A Liberal Democrat Teddington councillor has decided to quit his party and become a Labour member.

Councillor Stephen Knight, who has served as a Teddington ward councillor for 20 years, said he will not run for re-election this May.

Cllr Knight said: “I have also decided to leave the Liberal Democrats after 30 years as an activist, and join the Labour Party.

“With the Tories nationally plunging the country into chaos and instability, it is now clear that only the Labour party can provide the alternative that the country so desperately needs.

“My partner Jennifer Churchill- who joined the Labour Party two years ago for reasons I had great sympathy with- has in a short time had a big impact on the council.

“I want to see her re-elected in May with a strong group of Labour councillors around her, and I will be joining the Labour campaign for this year’s local elections.”

Although the councillor will not run in May’s elections, he said is “not going to rule out ever standing for election again”.

During his twenty years, Cllr Knight served as deputy leader of the council, leader of the opposition, and as a London Assembly member.

He spoke about “having great respect” for colleagues on the London Assembly, adding: “Now, in Sadiq Khan, we have a Mayor of London determined to clean up our dirty environment and build the new affordable homes we so desperately need.

“Across London, it is clear that it is now Labour councillors who are at the forefront of driving change in their local communities.”

Labour London Assembly Member and chair of London Fire Authority Dr Fiona Twycross said: “Having campaigned with Stephen against cuts to emergency services and against low pay, I am delighted he has joined the Labour Party, the party that best reflects his commitment to social justice and economic fairness.

“I look forward to campaigning with him for Labour in the forthcoming local elections and for a Labour government.”

Cllr Gareth Roberts, leader of the opposition, said: “We'd like to thank Stephen for his service to the Liberal Democrats over the years both in council and on the GLA.”