A UKIP councillor has resigned from the party's district council group after an annual meeting “descended into chaos”.
Alton Park councillor Peter Cawthron quit the Ukip group on Tendring Council after a row over who should take over as branch chairman.
The Gazette understands more votes were cast than the number of people who were signed into the Clacton Ukip Association meeting.
One councillor was reportedly left in tears and a number of members of the Tendring Council Ukip group are now believed to be considering resigning from the local branch.
Tempers flared at the meeting, at the Wick Lodge pub, after Rush Green councillor Mary Newton failed to be re-elected as chairman in favour of Ukip stalwart Anthony Finnegan-Butler.
Opponents of Mr Finnegan-Butler’s election were angry that a motion listed in the agenda was not taken.
The meeting, which was being run by eastern counties chairman George Konstantinidis, was then closed early.
Ukip activist and former minutes secretary Colin Sargeant also resigned from the branch and it is thought another councillor may do so.
“This meeting would have been the first chance for the membership to debate matters for over two years,” said Mr Sargeant.
“Unfortunately, this opportunity was wasted as the meeting quickly descended into chaos.
“The views of many present are that the published agenda was not followed, voting papers did not tally with the number of members present, a motion on the agenda was ignored and the relevant voting papers to that motion were not included in the pack given to members on arrival.
“When the committee was confronted by a number of people with the fact that the agenda had not been followed and the motion ignored, the chairman said unless people desisted from complaining he would close the meeting – which he promptly did.
“Many members left in disgust.”
It is understood there is now a major rift in the branch.
Mrs Newton said: “I will be resigning from the Clacton Ukip branch. However, I will remain a staunch Ukip member and a member of the Ukip group on Tendring Council.
“I’m just not happy with the direction the branch is going.
“I was acting chairman and did not expect to get re-elected, but I got upset when it got to a point when a motion on the agenda was not taken by the new chairman. At that point, I got very upset.”
Mr Finnegan-Butler said there were more votes cast than people who signed in at the meeting, but claimed some people may not have signed in because there was a long queue to get into the venue.
“I got in with an overwhelming majority,” he added.
“Out of 60 people there, about four people weren’t very happy with the procedure.
“The kerfuffle was from those four people who didn’t like the way it was being run, as officers from the regional party had not allowed a motion that could have possibly influenced the voting.
“It was raucous because they were bad losers.
“If they don’t like the party that much and don’t like Douglas Carswell that much, then maybe they are in the wrong party.”
The latest storm comes just eight months after a number of Ukip councillors split to form their own Coastal Independents party following a disagreement over whether to work with the Conservatives to form an administration on Tendring Council.
Group leader Mark Stephenson said the latest row was for the local association committee to discuss, but said no councillors had informed him of their intention to resign from the Ukip group on Tendring Council.
Mr Cawthron was unavailable for comment at the time of going to press