A TOP South Devon Tory has defected to the UK Independence Party.
Teignbridge district and Teignmouth town councillor James McMurray (pictured) has been a Conservative Party member since he was 16.
The former Teignmouth mayor, who represents the central Teignmouth ward, handed in his resignation letter on Tuesday.
He has joined UKIP after deciding to vote for them in the European elections on May 22.
He said: "This was not a decision which was taken lightly. "However, I have become increasingly disillusioned with a party which does so little to support the aspirations of working families."
Newton Abbot Tory MP Anne Marie Morris said: "It is regrettable Cllr McMurray has made this decision.
"This is a time when we must all focus on what is best for the long-term future and prosperity of Teignbridge and the hard working people and their families who live here."
A UKIP spokesman said: "This is another sign of UKIP's progress across the country."