EXCLUSIVE:Three senior Crawley Tories defect to UKIP

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The chairman and deputy chairman of the Crawley Conservative Association, who recently received votes of no confidence, have joined the UK Independence Party.

Former councillor Lee Gilroy and Cllr Karl Williamson, a cabinet member on Crawley Borough Council, both announced today (Monday July 29) that they will be standing down as association chairman and deputy chairman respectively because they have decided to leave the Conservative Party.

On July 19 about 40 per cent of the Crawley Conservative Party faithful turned out to a Special General Meeting where the motion of no confidence was tabled against Cllr Williamson and Mr Gilroy.

Each of them received a 95 per cent vote of no confidence and there were calls for them both to resign, but they said they would not be standing down.

Mr Gilroy has now confirmed he has joined UKIP and will be resigning his position as chairman.

Cllr Williamson has confirmed he will also be resigning from his role as cabinet member for customer and corporate resources.

Also joining them in UKIP was former borough councillor Ali Burke, whose husband Lee is a Conservative councillor for Pound Hill South and Worth.

A spokesman from Crawley Borough Council said: “We weren’t aware (of the Cllr Williamson’s defection) but we don’t have to be told - it’s a little different if a new group forms, but that has to be a minimum of two councillors.”