TWO Wyre Forest district councillors have quit the Conservative party with one citing the government's handling of the coronavirus crisis.

Husband and wife Councillors Roger and Anna Coleman, who represent Bewdley and Rock ward, have both left the local Tory party and since joined the Independent Community and Health Concern group as part of the cross-party Progressive Alliance.

Cllr Roger Coleman told The Shuttle he decided not to renew his Conservative Group membership due to his "unhappiness with the way central government has handled the Covid crisis", which he says has resulted in "many unnecessary deaths".

He said in a statement: "[I] confirm I have not renewed my membership of the Conservative party recently, the main reasons being my unhappiness with the way central government has handled the Covid crisis which in my opinion has resulted in many unnecessary deaths.

"At the same time some of the financial strategy beggars belief.

"With regard to our local MP and his support of the agriculture bill, we are totally opposed in our views and I no longer feel able to support him.

"There is no such thing as a local Conservative - you are either all in or all out and I was therefore required to resign from the Wyre Forest District Council Conservative group.

"Having been subsequently approached by Independent Community and Health Concern to join them and the Progressive Alliance, I have agreed as this gives me the best opportunity to serve the people of Bewdley and Rock in an honest and caring way."

Cllr Anna Coleman said: "I found myself in a position where I wasn’t able to remain a member of Wyre Forest Conservative Association.”

Both are now listed as members of the Independent Community and Health Concern group on the council website.

Responding to the councillors' decisions to leave the party, Conservative Group leader Cllr Marcus Hart said: "It is always unfortunate when someone is elected having stood for a political party and then subsequently chooses to leave it.

"I had a telephone discussion with Roger who advised me that he had issues with the national party and that he would not be renewing his membership of the Conservative Party and therefore resigned from the group.

"Roger advised me he was going to sit as an independent as he would not be joining any other group but then subsequently emailed me to say that he had joined Independent Community and Health Concern.

"I then received an email from Anna on Saturday resigning from the group but no explanation was given. I wish them well for their future endeavours."