The national leader of the UK Independence Party says that the newly formed Thurrock Independents are still UKIP members.

This comes after all 17 UKIP councillors in Thurrock decided to defect to a new party they formed called the Thurrock Independents (TI).

However, during a council meeting, the councillors were told they are still members of UKIP by the councils monitoring officer, David Lawson.

Henry Bolton, UKIP's leader, echoed this point during a speech he gave.

He said: "The guys in Thurrock who have gone across to form an independent group are still UKIP members.

"However, what they have done is they have said that  it's the infighting in the party that's the problem, not me."

See video below:

A Thurrock Independents Spokesman said: "It is incredibly disappointing to see Henry Bolton's making up factually incorrect statements. Our members other than Councillor Tim Aker MEP have resigned from UKIP.

"We have responses from the party notifying us that they have received these resignations. We have contacted Henry Bolton and look forward to him retracting this statement in the near future."

Henry Bolton has since retracted his comment.