Former Croydon Conservative MP Andrew Pelling was a surprise spot in the crowd at new Labour leader Ed Miliband’s conference speech yesterday.

The ex-Tory lost his Croydon Central seat to former colleague Gavin Barwell in the May general election after gaining just 3,200 votes standing as an independent.

Sources at political blog London Spin, who spotted Mr Pelling taking in Mr Miliband’s keynote speech in Manchester, said he was also introduced to crowds by Labour shadow transport secretary Sadiq Khan.

It is not the first time Mr Pelling has been caught rubbing shoulders with his former opposition.

The former Croydon Councillor and Greater London Authority member feared he would be kicked out of the Tory party when he was caught hob-nobbing at a Labour fundraiser in 2008.

He told the Croydon Guardian at the time he had attended to support his daughter, who had joined the Labour party, and was friends with former Mayor of London Ken Livingstone.

Mr Pelling became an outcast from the Conservatives after the whip was withdrawn following unfounded allegations he assaulted his wife in September 2007.

No charges were brought against him.