CALLS have been made for a Ukip leader to resign after he backed two Tories for Parliament.

Floyd Waterworth and Brian Otridge, Ukip’s parliamentary candidates for Rochford and Southend East and Southend West respectively, have called on James Moyies, Ukip’s leader on Southend Council, to resign after Mr Moyies backed two Conservatives’ general election bid.

Mr Moyies, who was expelled from the anti-EU party after kicking Mr Waterworth, also a Southend councillor, out of the Ukip group on Southend Council, said he would vote for Conservative candidate James Duddridge in Rochford and Southend East.

The Shoebury West councillor also called on Castle Point electors to vote for Conservative Rebecca Harris over Ukip’s candidate for the seat, Jamie Huntman.

Mr Waterworth, who represents Blenheim Park, said: “He gave all sorts of abuse to his Conservative rival at last year's election but now it seems he is as genuine as a nine-bob note.

“It is difficult to believe he was ever a true Ukip supporter when he can act in this way.

“He should resign his seat now and let the people of West Shoebury decide if they still want to support him.”

The call came as another Southend Ukip councillor apparently announced his resignation.

The Echo understands Lee Burling has resigned as councillor for St Laurence, with a by-election for the seat to be held alongside the local and general election, in May.

Mr Burling was unavailable for comment, but he was one of three rebel Southend Ukip councillors who, along with Mr Moyies, voted Mr Waterworth out of Ukip’s Southend Council group.

Ukip suspended Mr Burling and the others, Tino Callaghan and Lawrence Davies, from any party activity as a result.

Mr Otridge, who retains Mr Moyies’s support, said: “Frankly, councillor Moyies has just been a bad loser.

“He lost a hustings to Floyd Waterworth for parliamentary candidate, his two appeals were rejected by the party, and he has just played the man, not the ball.

“He only seems to have his own interests at heart, not those of his constituents, and resignation is the only way he could regain any honour.”

Mr Moyies said: “It’s important that people elect members of parliament who are respected by residents.

“Because of my personal experience of them cheating and breaking rules within Ukip and the way that these people have quite aggressive to get positions, they are not the sort of people who should be elected to Westminster.”