A PARISH councillor for the Conservative party has been urged to step down after defecting to UKIP in a shock move.
Leslie Sampson, a councillor on Lancing Parish Council, has defected to UKIP to the surprise of fellow councillors who had not been told beforehand.
Chairman James Butcher said the move should pave the way for a by-election.
Leslie was elected a Conservative councillor for Widewater ward in 2012 with more than 500 votes but has now decided to join UKIP.
The Conservatives did have eight seats on Lancing Parish Council, giving them a notional majority, with UKIP holding six and the Liberal Democrats holding two, but this defection would mean that UKIP and the Conservatives now have seven each.
Mr Butcher said: ‘It was with surprise that I heard Leslie had defected.
“Usually it is courtesy to let your own party know before you defect.
“That said, in all the time I have known Leslie he has been a true gentleman and I have absolutely no doubt in my mind that he will do the right thing, resign his seat and ask the public’s permission to return as a UKIP member.’
Chairman of East Worthing and Shoreham Conservatives, Bryan Turner said: ‘We are always disappointed to lose a member of our team but be in no doubt, we will be fighting the resulting by-election vigorously.
“Leslie should resign his seat and let the people decide.
“Anything else would be an affront to democracy.”