A STOURPORT town councillor has switched from the Conservatives to the UK Independence Party (UKIP).

Former Stourport mayor John Holden’s shock defection comes just weeks after he stood unsuccessfully as a Tory candidate for Stourport in the Worcestershire County Council elections.

Wyre Forest UKIP Parliamentary spokesman Michael Wrench has also confirmed Mr Holden will be the party’s candidate for the Stourport by-election on Thursday, June 27.

Mr Wrench said: “Mr Holden is one of an increasing number of defections nationally from both Labour and Conservatives as more people realise UKIP is no longer seen as a party of protest but one that speaks for them.

“Councillor Holden sees this as a great opportunity for a fresh start and the beginning of a new approach to local politics, it is also an opportunity for UKIP to become involved in the grass roots of politics where the opinions of local people count.”

Mr Wrench added the ex-Wyre Forest district councillor for Mitton, who lost his seat in 2012, had agreed to become the party’s Stourport by-election candidate because UKIP did “not operate a whip system”.

“[UKIP councillors] are free to be answerable only to the electorate who should always be their first priority,” added Mr Wrench.