Devon

Plymouth Conservative councillor defects to UKIP

A Conservative councillor in Devon has defected to the UK Independence Party after he said his council was "ignoring local communities".

Peter Berrow, the councillor for Southway in Plymouth, was accepted into UKIP on Monday.

He had been a Tory Plymouth City councillor since 2008, but will stand for re-election on 3 May.

Vivien Pengelly, the Conservative leader of the council said it was an "internal matter".

'Burnt bridges'

Mr Berrow said: "I have become increasingly frustrated with the Conservative leadership at Plymouth City Council who are not taking account of local community voices in much of their decision making.

"I have decided that now is the time to stand up for my local community by joining UKIP so that in the forthcoming May elections I can speak freely and openly about how this council and this government are letting our local community down."

Mr Berrow represented Southway as a Conservative from 2008 having joined the party in 1997.

He said he believed changing parties would cause the council to listen to him because "they'll be worried that where one goes, more may follow."

"I've actually been told by the Conservative Party that if I did this, I've burnt my bridges forever."

He said he had informed Southway residents that he was "changing sides" but had not received any negative feedback.

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