A FORMER Liberal Democrat councillor has switched alliances to the Labour Party - just months after becoming an independent.

Richard Silvester made the shock announcement at a meeting of the full council on Wednesday night.

Cllr Silvester had been a Smithills ward councillor for the Lib Dems since 2004.

But in April he announced he was resigning from the party, labelling the organisation of the party locally "a complete joke" and falling out with group leader Cllr Roger Hayes after refusing to vacate his Smithills seat.

Since then, Cllr Silvester had been representing his ward as an independent.

But towards the end of Wednesday's meeting, he made his switch.

He proposed a motion praising the Labour administration for introducing free school meals and swimming lessons for children, and criticising the Liberal Democrats for doubting how it could be funded.

"I am now announcing that I am joining the Labour group," he said, sparking jeers from his former party and the Tories.

Labour's chief whip, Cllr Sean Hornby, said: "We are delighted. Cllr Silvester has been unhappy for quite some time with the Liberal Democrats."