A LABOUR councillor has defected to the Liberal Democrats following a shock deselection last month.

Cathall member Cllr Milton Martin made the switch after he was spurned by the party in a major cull, it has been confirmed.

He said: “It's true that I've crossed the floor and I'm no longer part of the Labour group.

“It's to do with the deselection but it's a long story and it's also to do with a catalogue of things that have taken place over the last 12 years I've been a councillor.”

Cllr Martin has not yet given the full reason for the shift but has said a statement will be released in due course.

Forest member Cllr Faiz Yunis confirmed that he too has been deselected but has said he will not yet comment on reports that he is set to follow Cllr Martin's lead.

He said: “As far as I've heard, the process has been suspended. There's an inquiry by the regional Labour party.

“Until they announce the outcome, people who have been selected should assume they're not selected and people who are deselected should assume they're not deselected.”

Lib Dem leader Cllr John Macklin said the party had received approaches from "a number of Labour councillors".

He said: "The approaches we have received confirm that the circumstances surrounding the deselection of sitting Labour councillors have obviously generated a lot of anger amongst many members of their group."

He added that it was an "internal problem" for Labour and that the Lib Dems would be concentrating on working for residents and campaigning before the next local election.

Cllr Yunis added that he would also be issuing a statement shortly.

The shift takes the Liberal Democrat total up to 21 and leaves Labour at 24.

Waltham Forest mayor Cllr Anna Mbachu was also ditched without explanation, as well as Cllrs Shameem Highfield, Tarsem Bhogal and Elisabeth Davies.

A Labour insider claimed the deselections were made because of councillors' association with former council leader Clyde Loakes.

The Guardian also understands a formal complaint has been raised with the London Labour party as a result of the deselections.

The regional party was brought in to oversee the selection process after high-profile deselections, including Simon Wright and Stella Creasy, were made in 2005.

Complaints were made about the process, which was in the hands of the local party at the time, prompting the deferral to the London party.

The party in Waltham Forest is said to be in disarray as activists fear a strong challenge from the Liberal Democrats.

A spokesman for the party has said no statement will be issued until the deselection process is complete.

The London party has confirmed an investigation is taking place, supervised by director Ken Clarke and that the selection process has been suspended.

A spokesman said: "Following a number of complaints regarding the selection of candidates which took place over the weekend of June 25 and 26, London Labour party has launched an investigation into what happened and suspended the selection process in the meantime, pending the outcome."

No date has been set for the conclusion of the investigation but the spokesman confirmed the party wanted to reach a decision "as quickly as possible".