A FOUNDER member of Clacton’s Ukip group has rejoined the Conservatives after claiming she approves of Tory Prime Minister Teresa May.

Anne Poonian is one of three former Ukip councillors who have rejoined the Conservative group on Tendring Council.

Mrs Poonian, fellow Tendring Independents councillors John Chittock, and Coastal Independents councillor Mick Skeels Jnr left the Ukip group shortly after the district council elections in 2015.

They formed the Coastal Independents group, led by Mick Skeels Snr, following a row within the Ukip group over working with the Conservatives to form an administration.

A further split saw the creation of Tendring Independents and Mr Skeels Snr rejoined the Tories in October last year.

The trio have now rejoined the Conservatives.

Mrs Poonian was one of six founder members of the area's Ukip party and even encouraged Clacton MP Douglas Carswell to switch sides from the Tories.

“When I went to our group's first meeting after the district council election, there was quite a lot of people not getting on with each other,” she said.

“So, five of us decided to start our own party. There was a little bit of trouble with Mick Skeels Snr, and John and I decided we didn’t want to be involved in it, so we formed our own party.

“But now things have changed. Brexit happened, Nigel Farage is not the leader of Ukip, David Cameron has left the Government and we approved of Teresa May.

“John and I have felt a little out in a limb, so we decided to return to the party where we originally started.

“Things have changed so dramatically since we became councillors. We felt the right thing was to join Neil Stock and the Conservative group.”

Council leader Neil Stock, who is also leader of the Conservative group, welcomed the three councillors.

“I’m delighted that they have requested to come across,” he said.

“It was quite interesting chatting to Anne Poonian. One of the main reasons she wanted to come back to the Conservatives is to support Prime Minister Theresa May.

“She likes her way of running Brexit and the country.”

The move means there are now 27 Conservative councillors, up from 23 at the election, and just 12 of the original 22 Ukip councillors remain in the Eurosceptic group.

Mark Stephenson, UKIP group leader, said: "I can honestly say it doesn’t come as a surprise.

"It shows how little regard these councillors have for their electorate who clearly and consistently vote for change.”