EXCLUSIVE: Top Tory joins UKIP.

As tbg. reported on Wednesday Basingstoke & Deane Borough Council Tory Cabinet is at war and a leading Tory in Hampshire has this morning sensationally defected to UKIP.

Stephen West, the man who told the Tory Leader for Basingstoke & Deane Borough Council to "get a grip" and represents Tadley Ward announced his resignation from the Conservatives last night. tbg. understands that West will now be UKIP’s candidate in the forthcoming Police & Crime Commissioner Elections.

West told his web site last night:

"At a meeting of the Conservative Group of Basingstoke & Deane Borough Council this evening, I informed members that I have today resigned from the Conservative Party."

"The Conservative Party has retreated from the centre ground of UK politics as David Cameron has failed to deal with the issues of the Economy and while stating that "We are all in it together" is happy to cut the top rate of tax for the richest people in the country while the rest of us here in Tadley struggle to make ends meet. I have not left the Conservatives - the Conservatives have left us in Tadley."

"Locally, I have supported the divided and fractious Conservative administration in Basingstoke as it has struggled to get a grip of planning and infrastructure issues due to the paralysis caused by the High Court ruling that the Borough acted unlawfully over its core strategy last year. I am no longer willing to be lead somewhere where I don't want to go."

"I will continue as always to support you, the people of Tadley and protect the town from over-development, anti-social behaviour and cuts to services. You supported me at the ballot box and I will continue to work tirelessly for you."

"It is my hope that I will continue to have a positive working relationship with my fellow Borough Councillors Rob Musson, David Leeks & Michael Bound who speak up and deliver results for our community."

"More to follow."

+UPDATE+ 10am - Nigel Farage was bragging on BBC SOUTH TODAY about a "tory councillor resigning" who is set to be a UKIP Police & Crime Commissioner Candidate. Wests' resignation happened simultaneously.

Follow Up - West Confirms Defection.