LITTLE Thurrock councillor Stuart St Clair Haslam has become the first to join the UK Independence Party.

It was announced at the group’s spring conference in Scarborough last weekend that Cllr St Clair Haslam, who has now moved political parties twice in a year, would be joining the party.

It has also been confirmed by UKIP that Cllr St Clair Haslam will be standing for re-election in the Stanford West ward in May, and not his current seat.

The Gazette tried to speak to Cllr St Clair Haslam several times this week, but he was not available to comment.

But Clive Broad, UKIP spokesman for Thurrock and Basildon, said: “I am over the moon Stuart has decided to join UKIP.

“He has seen the light. It has been in the pipeline for the past three months and he has seen what the Tories and Labour have done at the council.

“You can see from what goes on, it’s a fiasco. He is the first councillor to join us because he read our manifesto, saw what we stood for and decided to come across. It is great news.”

Cllr St Clair Haslam was a member of the Tory group until May last year when he dramatically quit and joined mayor Anne Cheale in Thurrock’s Concerned Conservatives group.

Cllr St Clair Haslam claimed a lack of support from leader Cllr Hague in a row between officers and planning committee members over planning permission for two developments on green belt land.

Cllr Cheale was also unavailable for comment.