A TOP Clacton councillor who made national headlines for a foul-mouthed rant outside the town hall has returned “home” to the Conservatives.

Mick Skeels Sr was stripped of his cabinet tourism responsibilities after he issued threats to activist William Hones and called him the ‘c-word’ during the April outburst, which Mr Hones recorded and placed on You Tube.

Mr Hones confronted the high-ranking councillor about the then former Conservative being elected as UKIP and in June 2015 leaving UKIP to form the Coastal Independents with two other councillors.

Now, barely a year later, the St Johns Councillor has jumped ship again, this time back to the Conservatives.

“I have always been a Conservative. I only joined UKIP to get the in-out referendum. It wouldn’t have happened without UKIP,” he said.

He also said he has friends within the Conservative group and UKIP has now achieved its aim.

The veteran councillor said he would not stand down and fight a by-election, despite switching parties, saying they were too costly. Defections involving other councillors were “possible.”

Mr Skeels Sr said he had “learnt my lesson” with Mr Hones, and though he has switched parties again, he said if they met again, he would use “more appropriate language if I can be bothered to talk to him.”

Tendring Council received official notification of the defection last week, with deputy leader Carlo Guglielmi countersigning the move.

The Conservative deputy group leader said he “personally welcomes” Mr Skeels Sr back to the party, which has to be ratified by other councillors later this month.

The Manningtree councillor said the “C-word” incident was “water under the bridge,” adding Mr Skeels Sr had apologised for it.

Mr Guglielmi said other defectors were always welcome to the Conservatives, including MPs, and though he wasn’t aware of any others looking to jump ship “the door is always open.”

However, Mr Skeels Sr has come under fire from Mr Hones and Ukip.

In an email sent to councillors, Mr Hones branded the veteran councillor a “lowlife” and pledged to make sure the now Conservative is not elected to Essex County Council if he stands next year, as widely believed.

Tendring Council Ukip group spokesman Jeff Bray demanded a by-election. He said Mr Skeels Sr would be taking the Conservative whip, meaning he would be opposing “the UKIP policies he was elected upon.”

UKIP group leader Mark Stephenson said Mr Skeels Sr had switched parties to remain elected, which was why he had previously joined Ukip. Mr Stephenson noted his former political group is now left “leaderless.”

Coun John Hughes, one of the two surviving Coastal Independents on Tendring Council, said his former colleague had discussed the defection with him but he “would not pass comment.”