ASPATRIA councillor Mike Little has joined the Tories after being “impressed” by their role in the leadership of Allerdale Council.

The Leave-voter, who had been Allerdale Council’s only Putting Cumbria First councillor, was also won over by Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s commitment to ‘get Brexit done by October 31’ - highlighted as he took to the stage for his keynote speech at the Conservative conference in Manchester this week, revealing new deal hopes.

The father-of-four said he was delighted to be joining a party that was “truly putting Cumbria first”, just five months after he was elected.

He said: “I have joined the Conservatives as it was about time that I was true to myself, in who and what I stand for.

“I want positive change in Allerdale and in our country for the people, I want to put our community first and this can only realistically be achieved as a Conservative councillor.”

Mr Little said he had always been “conservative with a small c”, describing himself as someone who believes “strong local businesses are the backbone not only of our economy, but also our society”.

He said he wanted people to have “equality of opportunity” regardless of background, based on the idea that those who work hard “can achieve”.

The councillor said he could have greater influence and was “confident” he would be better able to represent his constituents by being part of what he described as the “Conservative renaissance in Allerdale.”

Speaking on how his defection might go down in Aspatria, he said: “People voted for Mike Little, and the policies that I represent.

“None of those things have changed, but the Conservatives are able to implement those policies, whereas as a lone Putting Cumbria First councillor, I cannot.”

Councillor Mark Jenkinson, Allerdale Council’s deputy leader and leader of the Conservative group, described Mr Little as “an impassioned and conscientious community-focused councillor”.

He added: “I know he has taken great care in reaching this decision, with the people of Aspatria being his number one consideration.”