A popular county councillor from Burgess Hill has left the Conservative Party and will now represent his division as an independent.
Andy Petch, who represents the Hassocks and Victoria division, won a seat in West Sussex County Council’s 2013 election with 41 per cent of the vote.
The firefighter, who is also a member of the Fire Brigades Union, has since spoken out against cuts to the fire services, including the removal of frontline appliances and the number of firefighters on the ground in Mid Sussex.
Cllr Petch announced last week that he will continue to represent residents as an independent member of the council.
“I will continue to serve residents with the same dedication and in the same way,” he told the Middy.
“This includes continuing to work with other councillors of all political persuasions.
“I have not had a fall out or argument with the local party or at West Sussex County Council.
“Situations have just occurred where I find that I am no longer willing to renew my membership of the Conservative Party.
“I wish them all the best for the future and thank them for their help during my time as a member.”
Michael Jones, West Sussex county councillor for Crawley and Labour Party member, tweeted: “Sincere respect to principled #Hassocks and #BurgessHill councillor Andy Petch who has announced his resignation from the Tory Group at WSCC.”
Louise Goldsmith, Leader of West Sussex County Council said: “We respect Andy’s decision and thank him for all he did on behalf of the Conservative group serving his division.
“I am sure he will continue to serve his constituents in his division diligently and well.”