HIGH-PROFILE Labour Party campaigner Shaz Salem has jumped ship to join the Tories.

Mr Saleem, one of the Mayor of Dudley’s ambassadors - who has helped raise thousands of pounds for the first citizen’s charities, says he has ripped up his Labour Party membership and joined the Conservative Party.

Blaming the party’s lurch to the left under the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn, the former Kingswinford South local election candidate for Labour said: “I feel the party has actually left me.

"I’m a successful business man and for people such as myself who take risks in setting up and running small business Jeremy Corbyn offers nothing to my aspirations for my family, employees or business.

"I feel the Conservatives in Dudley with the extra investment in frontline services and popular measures such as free car parking are more representative of my family, friends and myself.”

Councillor Patrick Harley, leader of Conservative controlled Dudley Council, added “This is a big blow to the Labour Party.

"Shaz has helped raise thousands for the Mayor's charities and been a fantastic community campaigner.

"I’m pleased he sees that with the Conservatives he can have hope, aspiration and ambition for himself, family and friends.

"Since taking control of Dudley Council in May we have applied policies that clearly capture that centre ground."

Councillor Pete Lowe, leader of Dudley's Labour Party, said he respected Mr Saleem's decision to leave the party - while deputy leader Councillor Judy Foster said it was "an entirely personal matter for him" and she added: "We are saddened by the departure of any member from the Labour Party."

She said Labour has of late witnessed "the biggest increase in membership I've seen" and she added: "We're the largest political party in Europe."