The former Conservative MP for Croydon Central Andrew Pelling has joined the Labour party.

Mr Pelling, who was a member of the Conservative Party for 34 years, said he intends to be an active member of the opposition group and has not ruled out getting involved in local and national politics again.

His move has come as no surprise, as Mr Pelling has been rubbing shoulders with Labour since becoming an outcast from the Conservatives in 2007 after being arrested but not charged over unfounded allegations he assaulted his wife.

He sparked controversy when he was caught hob-nobbing at a Labour fundraiser in 2008, which he said he had attended to support his daughter, who had joined the Labour party, and was friends with former Mayor of London Ken Livingstone.

Then, last year he was spotted in the crowd at new Labour leader Ed Miliband’s party conference speech.

He said: "I may have endured a difficult journey to get to this point but it has not been a difficult decision to join Labour.

"On a national level, the Labour Party have got it right on the economy. The Conservatives are cutting too deep and too fast.

"I found the Conservative Party in Parliament to be a party of privilege with little empathy for Croydon.

"With a few notable individual exceptions in the Conservative Party it was the Labour Party who showed compassion and concern for me in difficult times for me personally. I was very touched by this.

"I was most unhappy about the vile and unpleasant material that was distributed by the current MP for Croydon Central about me in the last General Election."

The former investment banker began his political career when he was first elected to Croydon Council as a Conservative representative for the Broad Green ward in 1982.

He was expelled from the Conservative Party last year when he announced his intention to stand as an independent against the Conservative candidate Gavin Barwell.

In the May 6 elections, he polled just over 3,000 votes compared with Mr Barwell’s 19,657.