A SENIOR Independent councillor is to resign his seat to fight a former colleague in another ward.

Martin Terry, spokesman of the Independent Group, is to stand down as councillor for Westborough, after 11 years, to run in Thorpe, against Alex Kaye, who left the Independents to restore the Conservative majority last March.

Mr Terry, of Victoria Road, said: “I have gained a lot of experience and I believe I have made a significant contribution to Westborough, Southend and local democracy by challenging party political influence, which I believe has no place in local council business.

“It is fundamental to me that we continue to force political parties out of local decision making.

If elected, I would be delighted to serve Thorpe ward which is where I live, restoring stability and the democratic wishes of the electorate in Thorpe ward, whose voters had their Independent vote removed undemocratically by a political party.”

The 58-year-old materials handling consultant was the first Independent councillor to be elected in recent history, in 2003, with the support of former BBC journalist and Independent MP Martin Bell.

Mr Terry, who was a Labour party member for about nine months in the early Nineties, has seen eight others join him in the Independent group.

Non-aligned independent councillor Dr Marimuthu Velmurugan, who resigned from the Independent Group last year, accused his former colleague of “running scared” and agreeing not to stand against Ukip, which Mr Terry denies.

The GP said: “He is doing a runner. He thinks he won’t win.

“He has done a deal and won’t stand against Ukip.”

The Echo understands a new female candidate will stand as an independent candidate in the ward, although no name has been announced.

Alex Kaye, who joined the Tories after becoming “disillusioned”

with the Independent group, said: “If he feels he is in an unsafe place in Westborough, he must do what he feels he has to do.

“Of course it’s personal. In my opinion, being personal isn’t a good reason to stand in an election."