A LABOUR councillor has defected to the Scottish Tories, saying only her new party can stop another independence referendum.

Angela Doran-Timson, who was elected in West Lothian in 2017, tendered her resignation to the local Labour group earlier today.

A councillor for the Broxburn, Uphall and Winchburgh ward, she married the council’s Tory group leader, Damian Doran-Timson, in December.

Scottish Labour accused her of putting her personal interests ahead of her community.

Ms Doran-Timson said the move was down to Labour’s “inability to stand up to the SNP”.

A work coach by profession, she said she also wanted to help create more jobs in the area.

She said: “Over and over again, Labour have been weak on the union and not strong enough in standing up to the SNP. At council meetings, they have not been prepared to oppose the SNP. Some in the Labour group would even be happy to see Indyref2.

 “I am joining the Scottish Conservatives because they are the only party strong enough to stop the SNP and the only party that stands up for Scotland’s place in the United Kingdom every time.

“As a work coach, I firmly believe we must be absolutely focused on creating more jobs and helping people back into work above all else. Our top priority has to be Scotland’s recovery, not another referendum.”

Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross said: “I’m delighted to welcome Angela to the Scottish Conservatives and I know she will continue to be a great representative for local people in West Lothian.

“This gain proves once more that we are the real alternative for working people across Scotland who want to remove the SNP from power.

“More and more ex-Labour voters, just like Angela, have decided to vote Scottish Conservative in recent elections.

“While Labour fell backwards to their worst ever Holyrood result, we won more votes than ever before and more people like Angela are joining us as we build Scotland’s real alternative to the SNP.”

Fiona Hyslop, the SNP MSP for Linlithgow , said: "Councillor Doran-Timson's defection to the Tories show how Labour's hard-line unionism continues to fail not only the people of Scotland but their own party members.

"Keir Starmer and Anas Sarwar continue to be out of touch with their own members in Scotland as a large chunk of them support the people of Scotland having a choice over their future.

"Whilst Labour in Scotland continue to fall into irrelevance, Labour in Wales have embraced democracy by acknowledging the right of the people to choose Welsh independence – Anas Sarwar could learn a thing or two from Mark Drakeford.

"If Labour continue to show unconditional support for Westminster control in Scotland then they will continue to slide even further into irrelevance."

The Tory announcement of the defection omitted the marriage of Angela Doran and Damian Timson, as they were then, last year.

Mr Doran-Timson stood at the recent Holyrood election as the Tory candidate for Almond Valley, coming third. 

A Scottish Labour spokesperson said: “Scottish Labour is fielding a full array of council candidates that are committed to standing up for the interests of the communities that they serve, not their own personal interests.”