Horsham MP Francis Maude said on Tuesday it was ‘a real pity’ that senior Tory district councillor Roger Arthur had defected to UKIP.
Mr Arthur, deputy leader of Horsham District Council and its cabinet member for finance, said last week that he was leaving the Conservative Association but would remain a councillor.
Mr Maude responded: “I’m sorry Roger has chosen to make this move at a time when a Conservative-led Government is having to make tough decisions and do difficult things. It’s a real pity.”
Mr Arthur’s defection had attracted national media attention - it was a page lead in Monday’s Daily Mail - because he was a leading Conservative in the council at the heart of Mr Maude’s constituency.