An independent councillor who left the Merton Conservatives 'on a matter of principle' has been welcomed back into the fold this week.

Councillor Chris Edge said he is happy to have rejoined the group after considering his options and breaking the ice with the group's leader Oonagh Moulton.

A meeting of the Conservatives on Monday, February 3, gave the go-ahead for the move after they voted in favour of coun Edge returning.

Coun Edge had distanced himself from the Merton coalition in a bid to return to the Tories just months before the elections.

He left the party last May and has stood as an independent candidate ever since.

Coun Edge, who represents the Dundonald ward, said: "Having left the Merton Conservative Group in May 2013 on a matter of principle, I have now considered my options and decided to rejoin the group and to help fight for a Conservative majority in Merton this May."

Coun Moulton said: "I am delighted to have Chris back as a member of our group.

"I look forward to working closely with him towards our shared goal of gaining victory for Merton Conservatives in May’s local elections."