Ben Walker quits South Gloucestershire Conservatives

Councillor Ben Walker
Image caption Ben Walker intends to continue as a councillor in Bradley Stoke North

A South Gloucestershire councillor has quit the Conservative party claiming "bullies" had "smeared" his name.

Ben Walker said he could not be part of a party which "undermines members wishing to progress themselves".

In a letter to council members, he wrote: "I have been internally smeared, but will not be bullied."

Bristol and South Gloucestershire Conservatives said Mr Walker, who is switching to UKIP, had let his constituents down.

'Continue to champion'

"Internal individuals have made it their business to remove me from the party in fear of their positions, so I have decided to give them what they want; for now," his letter said.

Two other reasons were given for his resignation - that he could not support the government's stance on the European Union or its "ill targeted" cuts.

Bristol and South Gloucestershire Conservatives said Mr Walker had "let down hundreds of Bradley Stoke residents" who had voted for a Conservative councillor only last year.

"The Conservative Party locally will continue to champion the needs and aspirations of the people of Bradley Stoke as it always has," the party added.

Mr Walker was recently in the running to chair South Gloucestershire Council but said he had deferred this position.

He is also a former mayor of Bradley Stoke; a position now held by his sister, 24-year-old Charlotte Walker, who is the youngest ever mayor of the town.

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