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Friday, January 15, 1999 Published at 12:06 GMT

UK Politics

Brighton jock heads north

The Scottish National Party has welcomed the defection of Brighton Labour councillor into its ranks.

But Labour say the man had already failed to be reselected because of his poor attendance.

Jim McGinley, 45, represents the Brunswick and Adelaide ward of the East Sussex town.

After enjoying a festive break with friends north of the border, Mr McGinley decided to pitch in with the nationalists.

He said he had left the Labour Party because he felt they no longer represented socialists.

This view was shared by his friends in his hometown of Kirkcaldy in Fife.

"All my old comrades from the Labour Party had left and joined the SNP because they are the genuine socialists.

"The SNP was the only centre left party I could join."

But Labour dismissed the latest in a series of defections.

It pointed out Mr McGinley had already been deselected and said his poor attendance meant he was also in danger of being disqualified as a councillor.

A Labour party spokesman added: "If the Scottish Nationalists want him they are welcome to him."

But the SNP issued an equivocal welcome to East Sussex's Scottish Nationalist.

"We're sure the people of Brighton will give a warm welcome to a man of such obvious independence."

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