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Tributes have been paid to former Weoley Castle councillor Ray Holtom who passed away yesterday at 78. Ray had been a Labour activist for many years before winning election in 1995, but later defected to the Lib Dems.

Ex-Labour colleague Hugh McCallion said, "he was a good community worker, and a good hard-working member. It was just a shame the way his career ended."

In 2001, Ray argued against the sale of Council houses, and it was alleged that he had to lock himself in a toilet to protect himself from his fellow Socialists (see link here)

McCallion disputes that version of events, but in any event, Holtom defected shortly afterwards to the Lib Dems.

He lost his seat in 2003, and failed in a final attempt to recapture it in 2004.

Lib Dem leader Paul Tilsley said: "I think it's fair to say that by the end of his time in the Labour Party, he wasn't very happy there.

"It was a big step for him to break that link, but despite what happened, I think he had a lot of respect within the Labour ranks, and I think there was a great deal of affection for him.

"He was a dedicated councillor who cared a lot about people."

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