Sheffield Hallam - former Tory backs Labour days after Conservative endorsed Clegg

Vonny Watts, former Conservative candidate, has now backed Labour Hallam candidate Oliver Coppard
Vonny Watts, former Conservative candidate, has now backed Labour Hallam candidate Oliver Coppard
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A former Conservative candidate has backed Sheffield Hallam’s Labour hopeful after a Tory endorsed Nick Clegg.

Vonny Watts, who stood for the Conservatives as a local council candidate in a 2013 by-election in Fulwood and came third, is now a member of the Labour party.

The former deputy chair of South Yorkshire Conservatives has publicly backed Oliver Coppard, the Labour candidate for Sheffield Hallam.

It comes days after it emerged that John Harthman, former Parliamentary candidate for Sheffield Hallam, was urging voters to support Nick Clegg on Liberal Democrat party leaflets delivered to homes.

Vonny Watts, who lives in the Sheffield Hallam constituency, said: “I can look Oliver Coppard in the eye and know he’ll do what he says he will for us, because he’s got Westminster in his sights but Sheffield in his heart.”

“I am a member of the Labour Party because I can now see they, and in particular Oliver, are the only ones who care about people here.”

Sheffield Hallam is set to be one of the most closely-watched seats in the country on May 7. Historically it has been held by the Conservatives, then Mr Clegg, but Labour hope to win it for the first time.

Mr Coppard said: “The Conservative voters I speak to every day feel just as let down by Nick Clegg as everybody else does across this community.

“They are being asked to support Clegg despite the fact that nationally he has been hugely critical of Conservatives. He also called on Labour supporters to vote for him at the last election to stop the Conservatives.

“It’s no wonder people here don’t feel like they can trust him.”

Ian Walker, the Conservative candidate for Sheffield Hallam, said ‘people change parties’ and voters should for what they believed in rather than out of ‘fear.’

He added: “We only need 23 more seats to form a Conservative majority Government and I’m fighting for Sheffield Hallam to be one of them.”