A leading Tory has defected to the UK Independence Party, and will become the first councillor in Teignbridge to sit as an official member. A former mayor of Dawlish, Cllr Bill Forrow, 43, shocked fellow Conservatives by switching to UKIP because the Tories are not robust over Europe.
Cllr Forrow, who was mayor last year, said: "It was a huge wrench and something I had to wrestle with for some time, because I have always been a true blue. It goes back generations - my great grandfather was a Tory.
"But the Conservatives are not doing enough to get us out of Europe. The EU is wrecking this country, and Ukip is the only party prepared to do something about it. I am now convinced the Tories are definitely not going to take Britain out of the EU. Britain is under attack from Europe, and I had to do something.
"It's up to everybody to examine their consciences, forget party allegiances and do what's best for the country."
Cllr Forrow added that he had warned leading local Tories in advance of his change of allegiance and received a "civilised" response.
He is a psychiatric nurse at Torquay and has sat on Dawlish Town Council for 18 years. He also had a 12-year stint as a Teignbridge councillor, and in 1997 stood as the Tory candidate at Huddersfield in the general election.
Trevor Colman, the Ukip prospective candidate for Teignbridge, welcomed the new recruit, announced at a meeting in Dawlish, and declared: "His expertise and experience will be very useful to us.
"A lot of other grass roots Conservatives also feel the same way about Europe, and I would urge them to join us or vote for us at the coming election."
Cllr Stuart Barker, Conservative group leader on Teignbridge Council and deputy chairman of the local association, said it was a great pity that Cllr Forrow had not been listening to what the Tories had been saying on Europe.
"We have made it very clear we would have a referendum on the European constitution to let the people decide.
"We want radical changes in the EU, but it has to be remembered that this country depends heavily on trade with the continent and it is pie in the sky to think we can sever all links with our closest trading ally. Voting for Ukip would be a wasted vote because it could let in Labour or the Lib-Dems."
Source: This is South Devon, February 23 2005