THE leader of Tendring Council sensationally resigned from the council during an emotionally-charged rant at his fellow Tory councillors at a public meeting.

Peter Halliday revealed there was a rift among the district’s conservatives and lambasted a series of his Conservative colleagues – and Clacton MP Douglas Carswell.

Mr Halliday, who took over as leader of the authority last year, admitted to “going for” Conservative councillor Andy Wood at a private group meeting following a row.

Mr Halliday said he was upset at being accused of corruption for supporting the development of the Naze Education Centre at Walton by Delyth Miles, who is also chairman of the Clacton Conservative Association.

"Recently the Conservative Party locally have been behaving totally inappropriately,” he said.

“I can’t work with deceiving, lying individuals.”

He added that Mr Carswell has done "diddly-squat" for the constituency.

At a meeting of the council's cabinet today, he resigned both his position as leader of the council and as ward councillor for Clacton's St John's ward.

Deputy council leader Paul Honeywood has taken over as interim leader.

In a statement, the council's cabinet said: "The whole cabinet is upset and bitterly disappointed about the resignation of Peter Halliday.

"He was an excellent and inspirational leader who cares passionately about the district and all of its residents.

"It is a very sad day for the cabinet and even more so for Tendring."