A Havering councillor has slammed the Conservatives after deciding to defect from the party.

Robby Misir, 58, joined the Havering Residents Association (HRA) group last week.

He also criticised Havering Conservatives leader Keith Prince for his behaviour during a full council meeting last month in a row involving a council officer and deputy mayor Patricia Brown.

At the meeting on January 17, about half of a 90-minute discussion on potential changes to transport for children with special needs was taken up by an argument about the procedure of the debate.

Cllr Prince repeatedly urged Cllr Brown, who chaired the meeting, to ignore a senior legal officer’s advice, which he called “misleading”.

Cllr Misir told the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS): “[Cllr Prince’s] behaviour to the chair of the meeting was disgraceful and that was the last straw for me.

“I was thinking, I can’t stand on the other side of the bench and see someone criticising the mayor in such a vulgar way – it was embarrassing.”

Cllr Prince said: “If you watch the video you will see that on numerous occasions I made it clear to the mayor that I was not being critical of her.

“I was critical of the way in which the constitution was being bent to favour the administration.”

Romford Recorder: Cllr Keith Prince speaking during last month's council debate on school transportCllr Keith Prince speaking during last month's council debate on school transport (Image: Havering Council)

Cllr Misir, who has represented the Romford ward now known as Marshalls and Rise Park since 2006, sees “no future” for the party locally.

He believes the HRA administration "is much more transparent than previous council administrations despite it facing far greater financial challenges".

Cllr Misir said: “I also believe the HRA is better equipped and committed in dealing with these quite unprecedented threats to the council.”

When asked what he would say to residents who voted for him as a Conservative, he said he would speak up for residents “no matter” what their political values are.

Cllr Misir has attended only 62 per cent of the 24 meetings required in his role as a councillor.

While he was substituted by colleagues at planning committee meetings, his seat was left empty at half of the 14 full council meetings, which all members are required to attend.

However, HRA leader Ray Morgon said his group were “very supportive” of the move.

Cllr Misir told the LDRS he has worked as a manager of Barking and Dagenham Council since 2013 and currently manages its transport depots.

His switch will strengthen the HRA group, bringing it up to 23 councillors and lowering the Conservative group to 19.

Labour has nine councillors, with two in Ray Morgon’s cabinet leadership team.

As 28 seats are required for one group to take majority control of the council, the HRA-Labour power sharing arrangement is likely to continue.

Cllr Misir’s resignation from the Conservative group is the fourth since the 2022 local elections.

In September that year, three newly-elected Conservative councillors for Rainham joined the HRA group.

The councillors, Sarah Edwards, Sue Ospreay and Jackie McArdle, left over the Conservatives' response in the aftermath of the devastating fire in Wennington in July 2022.