A LONG-SERVING Tory councillor will be stepping down at the next election citing his party’s views on gay marriage as a key reason behind his decision to leave politics.

Hadleigh councillor Cliff Brunt, who has stood for Victoria ward for ten years, will be retiring from local politics next May after choosing not to contest his seat on Castle Point Council for another term.

He said the legalising of same-sex marriage in July prompted his decision not to stand. He explained: “It was a sad for day this country when it was passed. I am a Christian and my view is that marriage should be between a man and a woman.”

Fellow Tory councillor Mark Flewitt, who is openly gay, said he was disappointed.

On hearing the news he said: “It is a real shame and a waste of all his political efforts. If two people of the same sex want to be together in marriage in 2013 why ý Cliff Brunt – ready shouldn’t they be?”