A SENIOR Teignbridge councillor has quit the Conservative Party, expressing his frustration at being ignored by Westminster politicians and concerns their behaviour is alienating the voter.

Cllr Chris Clarance, who represents Shaldon and Stokeinteignhead, is the vice chairman of Teignbridge District Council.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, he said: ‘Today I have had to make a very hard decision. I have tendered my resignation from the Conservative Party, but still I would to represent my constituents in Shaldon and Stokeinteignhead as an independent at next Mays elections.

‘I have fought and campaigned on many local issues, one being trying to keep Teignmouth Hospital from closure.

‘But when you write twice to the Health Sec in May and don’t get a reply it becomes frustrating.

‘Then you write to a different Health Sec in September and once again don’t get a reply, even more frustrating!

‘Then you write to the Conservative Party Chairman in mid-October, asking why no-one will reply, he doesn’t reply either!

‘I was under the illusion that it was better to be a member of the ruling party and fight from within to try and change things for the better.

‘Alas that hasn’t happened as I am ignored.

‘Voters will be asked to vote in local elections next May.

‘In my case having spoken to many constituents they face a dilemma because they tell me they would like to vote for me but not as a Conservative anymore.

‘I have been very proud to represent my constituents serving on TDC since 2003 and as a member of SPC since its formation in 1984.

‘Aged now 75 with a good depth of local knowledge I hope for support in serving you in the years to come.’

Cllr Clarance added: ‘I fought hard to get beds back into Teignmouth Hospital and it’s so annoying when you can’t get Ministers to reply or even acknowledge your emails.

‘A lot of voters I speak to feel incensed by the Conservative Party’s antics nationally. It’s a circus with their in and outs and other things. I want to distance myself from them.

‘The Party trailed a poor third in last week’s Newton Poppleford by-election, and I think a good many hard-working Conservative councillors will lose their seat in next year’s elections. I don’t want to be one of them.

‘I started my political career as an independent, and I want voters to see me as an truly independent candidate. I want to leave a party by which I am frustrated and disappointed.’