A petition has been launched over claims a Labour councillor “betrayed her supporters” by defecting to the Conservative party.

Susan Maughan, who represents the Borehamwood Brookmeadow ward for Hertsmere Borough Council, will not call a by-election and will continue to perform her duties as a Conservative councillor.

Twenty-five people have now signed the online petition urging her to stand down and give residents the chance to go to the polls months ahead of schedule.

Justin Tepper, who launched the petition, feels people should have the chance to decide which political party they would like to represent the area.

The petition says: “It is illegitimate. You would now lend your support to a different policy programme. If a councillor can switch allegiance half way through a term of office, surely the electorate has the same right?”

But Cllr Maughan said: “I am all about action and I feel I was wasting my time with the Labour party - it was all about being angry all the time and nothing was getting done.

“I wanted to serve residents and put people before politics. In local elections, most people are more interested in a community-minded councillor who cares for her community, rather than a politically driven councillor. 

“Conservatives, Labour and non-supporters voted for me in the last elections. I think people would find it difficult to find another councillor who cares about residents.

“After much soul searching, I know I can best serve my community as a representative of the Conservative party. For me, it’s about people, not politics.”

Her defection leaves Labour with just four councillors sitting on the borough council, compared to the Conservative party’s 34 representatives, including Cllr Maughan.

Cllr Maughan also represents the Kenilworth ward for Borehamwood Town Council - where there are now nine Conservatives and five Labour members.

Borough council leader Cllr Morris Bright said: “She established herself as an excellent example of what a community councillor should be about, working productively for residents regardless of political leanings.

“This is not just a gain to the Conservative party, but to the residents who get to keep hold of such a fine, hardworking and dedicated councillor.”

Just two weeks ago, former Labour council leader Frank Ward became chairman of the UKIP party, having quit the group years ago.

The Labour party questioned why Cllr Maughan was now supporting policies she had previously been critical of.

A statement: “It is very hard not to see this as a betrayal of the many people who worked long and hard to help her become a councillor. 

“Cllr Maughan should do the honourable thing and resign her seat and seek a fresh mandate at the earliest opportunity”. 

“We'll leave Cllr Maughan, and this rather odd decision, to her conscience."