‘REBEL’ city councillor Kim Gottlieb has joined the Liberal Democrats, four months after leaving the Conservative group.

Cllr Gottlieb fell out with the Tories over transparency regarding the proposed new £38m sports centre and the Silver Hill 2 scheme.

For several months he sat as an independent and after his resignation in June stoked Liberal Democrat hopes that his vote could prove crucial in toppling the Caroline Horrill administration before another councillor, Jamie Scott, switched from the Lib Dems to the Tories.

Cllr Gottlieb, who faces election in 2019, said: “It seems to me that the Lib Dem Party is a party which the Conservative Party once aspired to be, at least philosophically, in that it is a centrist political group with a social conscience.”

Lucille Thompson, Lib Dem group leader, said: “We’re very pleased that Kim has decided to join us. He’s a great campaigner for the city and the district and we’re delighted to welcome him on board.”

Council leader Caroline Horrill said: “I wish the Lib Dems the very best of luck in dealing with their new member.

“Voters in Alresford and Itchen Valley can make up their mind next year if they agree with Cllr Gottlieb’s actions when he comes up for election.

“Until then, we look forward to addressing Councillor Gottlieb’s wide-ranging views on many matters and countering them with the really positive and forward thinking vision we have for Winchester district.”

Cllr Gottlieb rose to prominence when his private legal action against the city council scuppered the first Silver Hill scheme in 2016 and launched the Winchester Deserves Better campaign.