A FORMER Labour councillor has switched sides to the SNP, claiming it is now "the party of social justice".

The Evening Times revealed last year that Stephen Dornan had applied to join the Nationalists.

The party rubber stamped the paperwork last night and the Govan councillor will now cross the floor.

Dornan quit Labour before a crucial council budget vote in 2012 after the party told him he would not be selected to stand again.

He was later re-elected in Govan as an independent under the Glasgow First banner.

Dornan said his decision to apply to join the SNP was taken in August after a "long, drawn out process".

He said: "As the Labour party got more blue the SNP became more socialist, but not in a cynical way. I think they had to pick up things that hadn't been picked up by Labour. Then I watched the Labour Party attacking them for doing that. The SNP are now the party of social justice."

The councillor met First Minister Nicola Sturgeon on Saturday at a charity event and she welcomed him into the fold.

Dornan said: "I've worked with Nicola for years and she's always been good in the community. In some issues you've seen her actually questioning herself. Somebody that is still able to do that now hasn't lost it. They're still able to represent the people.

"I think politicians should always question themselves. Our bosses are our constituents, then it's the party and we go out united."

The Govan councillor has a big personal vote, polling more than 600 first preferences as an independent.

He plans to write to every constituent setting out his reasons for switching to the SNP and will seek nomination from party members to stand again in 2017.

A spokesman for the council's Labour group said the move has "more to do with Councillor Dornan's electoral calculations than a Damascene conversion from socialist to nationalist".

Dornan said: "If I want to do something I'll do it. I've not been cynical in any way or calculated that I'll get returned."

His move will increase the SNP's numbers in Glasgow to 28 councillors.

Labour currently controls the local authority after 45 members were returned at the local elections in 2012.

SNP group leader Susan Aitken, who is a former member of the Labour Party, described Dornan's switch as "courageous".

She said: "We met and talked when he was thinking about making his journey. I was very struck by the depth of his arguments for the decision he'd made.

"I'm also aware, because it's something I've done myself, that it's not always easy to leave behind a tradition you've been part of, but actually you don't have to leave it behind. You can bring it with you.

"So, I'm very pleased to now welcome Stephen. He'll be an asset to our group.

"His record as a local member speaks for itself. His commitment to his constituents is exactly the kind of thing we value. He'll be an active contributor to our work as an opposition SNP group."