Bright young Tory hope defects to Labour in response to Brown's leadership
- Moderate Conservatives joining Labour, says Gordon Brown
One of the Tories' brightest young politicians in Wales has defected to the Labour Party, praising Gordon Brown's strong leadership as the main reason for his switch.
26-year-old school teacher David Anstee was a member of a powerful Welsh Conservative Policy Group which wrote the party's 2007 Assembly election manifesto. Today Prime Minister Gordon Brown welcomed him to the party, saying that moderate conservatives were responding to his call to join Labour to build a better Britain. David Anstee will be joined today by Rhondda Welsh Assembly Member Leighton Andrews at the New Assembly building.
Mr Anstee cut his political teeth as the only Conservative to stand for election as a councillor in Rhondda in over 20 years. He was the vice chair of the Rhondda Conservatives. But he has resigned his membership and applied to join Labour.
GORDON BROWN said:
"I am pleased that David listened to my call for moderate conservatives to join the Labour Party and help build a better Britain. I welcome him to the party and look forward to hearing of his positive contribution in the future."
DAVID ANSTEE said:
"Like many political moderates I had hoped that David Cameron's leadership of the Conservatives would herald a changed party that reflected the concerns of the people of our country.
"But unfortunately the Conservative Party has shown itself to be incapable of change. It has pandered to the views of its right wing whenever it has faced a serious test.
"In contrast, I have been really impressed by Gordon Brown's leadership. His strength and vision for Britain has been inspiring. We need a serious leader for serious times, to meet the challenges of security, global warming and housing."
LEIGHTON ANDREWS said:
"This will prove to be another blow to the leadership of David Cameron in London and Nick Bourne in Cardiff. David Anstee is precisely the kind of talent they want to attract to their party. But he sees the future of Britain as being best served by the Labour Party.
"Like so many others, David has realised that Labour is the only party that can be trusted to stick to its principles and govern in the interests of all. He knows that Labour offers policies of substance, not empty PR stunts followed by sudden lurches to the right."
In a speech to Labour's National Policy Forum on 14th July, Gordon Brown said: "As we reach out to all who share our vision of a better Britain of rising aspirations and new and better opportunities I urge all who share our values - progressives in all areas of Britain and moderate Conservatives - to join us in making Britain the country it can be."