THE Conservatives have strengthened their position on Weymouth and Portland Borough Council after the borough’s first Ukip councillor announced he was defecting to the Tories.

Councillor Francis Drake, who became the first Ukip councillor for the borough in 2014, is joining the Conservatives.

Cllr Drake said he had become ‘disillusioned’ with Ukip.

The move bolsters Tory numbers on the council but there is still no party with overall control.

Cllr Drake said: “We came to do the job of pushing for Brexit, now I feel Ukip is having too much internal fighting and I have become disillusioned with the party and its leadership. I have been thinking about moving for the last twelve months when I resigned as chairman of the Ukip branch of Weymouth.

“Ukip has got big problems to sort out; if they don’t sort them out the party will fail.”

Cllr Drake said he thought about becoming an independent councillor but felt he wouldn’t be able to give 100 per cent to residents because he feels he wouldn’t have much of a say.

He added: “It isn’t spur of the moment, I have looked at all the options and I feel as an independent councillor I wouldn’t have much say.

“The Conservatives have asked me if I would like to join and I feel I can give 100 per cent.”

He completed his move to the party on Monday following discussions with the council’s chief executive Matt Prosser.

Cllr Drake was previously a Conservative candidate in Somerset before joining Ukip.

Cllr Drake said it is the right time for him to move back to the Tories.

He added: “The relationship with the Conservative councillors (on the borough council) is reasonably good and I have no problem with them. I think we can work together quite well and I feel it is the right time to move over.” Let’s hope now we are in a strong position to take the council forward and look after the town and area. That is what we are aiming to do.

“I still have strong views and I will continue to fight for the different causes I feel strongly about.”

The addition of Cllr Drake, as well as Cllr Katharine Garcia who won a by-election on Portland, means the Conservatives have increased their numbers to 16 seats on the council.

Although they are the party with the most councillors, they would need a further three seats to take control of the council.

Conservative group leader on the council Cllr Jeff Cant said: “We are happy to welcome Cllr Drake.

“Many of my views and his concur. His views of the town are going in the right direction and he has decided we are the party to be in and we are very happy to welcome him.”