Corbyn praises former Tory voter after she wins council seat for Labour

Jeremy Corbyn has praised a Labour candidate for winning a council seat four years after voting for the Conservative Party.

Michelle Dorrell made headlines in 2015 after an emotional speech on the BBC’s Question Time saying she voted for the Tory government before lambasting their cuts to tax credits.

“Four years ago, I watched Question Time and saw Michelle Dorrell, who voted Tory at the 2015 General Election, break down in tears over cuts to her tax credits,” Mr Corbyn tweeted.

“Yesterday she became a Labour councillor – she’ll be a voice for those hit by vicious Conservative cuts, like she was.”

Ms Dorrell said her victory for Labour in her home town of Folkestone is “karma” after her speech on Question Time, in which she shouted “shame on you” at then energy and climate secretary Amber Rudd.

“My moment on Question Time woke me up,” the 38-year-old told the Press Association.

“So I went away and researched, reading books I’d have never read before and listening to people I never would have before, and understanding and seeing things in a different light, which led me to raising my red flag.

“It is an amazing feeling and it’s karma.”

Ms Dorrell said it was “absolutely amazing” to have Mr Corbyn’s endorsement.

“Jeremy Corbyn is like Marmite – you either love him or you hate him. But you’ve got to give the man credit, he has stuck to his guns and has integrity and principles that I’ve never seen from a politician, and I’m nearly 40 years old.

“The Labour Party is a family and I have been welcomed with open arms.”

Michelle Dorrell with some of her fellow councillors
(Folkestone and Hythe Labour Party)

Ms Dorrell, who describes herself as a swing voter, put her decision to vote Conservative in 2015 down to her consumption of mainstream media such as The Sun and Daily Mail and not “looking outside the bubble”.

“My information was only coming from certain sources and sometimes these sources only tell you the narratives they want you to hear,” she said.

On how things have changed since 2015, Ms Dorrell said: “Politics has changed massively because people can see what’s happening and this is happening to more than just the working classes.

“You have middle-income earners too, who are being squeezed and they’re at breaking point now.”

Michelle Dorrell in Folkestone with members of her party
(Folkestone and Hythe Labour Party)

Asked what she made of the local election results across the country, Ms Dorrell said: “People have had enough of selfish politics and PR peacocks where it’s all about them rather than the people they are voted to represent.”

The election saw the Conservative Party lose 1,269 seats and the Labour Party 63, while the Liberal Democrats gained 676.

Ms Dorrell commended the collective team effort in Folkestone, adding “change is coming and we’re helping to bring that around”.

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