A HARWICH town councillor and former deputy leader of the UKIP Group on Essex County Council has joined the Conservative Party.

Andy Erskine of Gordon Road, Dovercourt, was welcomed into the Tory fold at an Executive Committee Meeting of Harwich, North Essex and Colchester Association last week.

Mr Erskine said there was no point in forcing a county council by-election as elections for the Tory-run County Council are due next May.

The West Central Ward town councillor would also rather avoid a by-election in Harwich as such a fight would cost the town more than £3,000. But that would be up to its ruling Labour group.

Mr Erskine left UKIP in March and became an Independent due to the bickering within the party over the rival Vote Leave and Leave.EU/Grassroots Out factions.

Terry Sutton, chairman of the Harwich, North Essex and Colchester Association, said he expected more defectors from UKIP to the Tories, saying some people only joined UKIP to force a vote on the European Union.