Bognor town councillor Martin Lineham has announced his resignation from UKIP, due to his 'deep concern' about the party's direction.
Mr Lineham, who was UKIP councillor for Marine Ward, said he will remain on the Bognor Regis Town Council as an independent — although he claimed he was effectively working independently already.
He said: “It wasn’t the party I signed up to. It has changed its direction and it doesn’t sit comfortably with me.
“Working as an independent gives me greater freedom, and to be honest, I was almost an independent anyway because I didn’t get any support from UKIP. I hadn’t heard from them for over a year.
“I was loyal to UKIP but I didn’t like where the leadership was heading. I lost friends because of the party. It was the right time to leave.”
Cllr Lineham said the party didn’t offer him support during policy debates and he could ‘say or do what I wanted’.
He added: “I pushed through everything that I wanted to. I was against the linear park and was 100 per cent committed to my allegiance.
“There was not much support or communication. I was making my own decisions without support. If I needed support, I couldn’t get any. I could say or do what I wanted.
“Going independent is not going to affect how I perform.”
Cllr Lineham said he had ‘deep concerns’ at the direction UKIP ‘appears to be taking under its current leadership’.
He added: “I joined UKIP because I felt people like me were not represented by the current three big parties, also because of the passion and values of Nigel Farage.
"I am shocked and saddened that he has felt it necessary to quit given all he did to make UKIP a major force in national politics.
“I have for the last few years had little support from UKIP at local level as often there was too much infighting in the party.”
Cllr Lineham said he was particularly unhappy with the party’s involvement with Tommy Robinson, a far-right activist serving as a political adviser to the Leader of the UK Independence Party.
“There was a lot of backstabbing in the party. It was chaos. If you fight amongst yourselves, how can you do what’s best for the town,” he continued.
“I have often said I believe at local level it should be person not party, and today I stand by that and feel the need to resign from UKIP and go independent.
“I feel this is the best way to serve Marine Ward and town residents - and to continue to be their voice on local issues.
“I’m committed and open to work cross party for the good of the town and its residents so I will align with the Town Council Independent Group.”