Three councillors from the Conservatives have defected to the Havering Residents Association (HRA).

The HRA said in on one of its Facebook groups that Councillors Christine Smith of Hylands and Harrow Lodge ward, Philippa Crowder of Marshalls and Rise Park ward and John Crowder of Havering-atte-Bower ward have decided to join its group.

Romford Recorder: Councillor Christine Smith of Hylands & Harrow Lodge wardCouncillor Christine Smith of Hylands & Harrow Lodge ward (Image: Havering Council)The HRA claimed that its “open, honest and inclusive approach” has resulted in the councillors becoming a part of it.

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Romford Recorder: Cllr John Crowder of Havering-atte-Bower ward Cllr John Crowder of Havering-atte-Bower ward (Image: Havering Council)

It further said that the party does not stand in national elections and have councillors of all political persuasions.

“It is our cross-party working within one group that makes us representative of our communities”, the party added.

Romford Recorder: Philippa Crowder of Marshalls & Rise Park ward Philippa Crowder of Marshalls & Rise Park ward (Image: Havering Council)

Welcoming the new councillors, the HRA said they will “be there to support the residents and to keep the administration advised of things that need to change”.

The Recorder contacted the three councillors for comment but did not receive a response.

Conservative group leader Keith Prince was also contacted for a response but did not reply.

The three councillors are not the first to make the move from the Tories to the HRA, whose leader Ray Morgon has been heading up the council since mid-2022.

Robby Misir, of Marshalls and Rise Park ward, switched to the HRA in February.

At the time, he said he believed the HRA administration was "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.”

In September 2022, three newly-elected Conservative councillors for Rainham also 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 of that year.