COPELAND’S Tory leader David Moore says a former Conservative colleague ought to “consider his position” on the council following his defection to the Brexit Party.

Ged McGrath, who represents the Millom area, announced his resignation from the Conservatives on Tuesday as he revealed he was standing as the Brexit Party’s parliamentary candidate for Barrow and Furness.

Responding to news of the bombshell decision, Coun Moore said he felt, “disappointed”, “let down” and “betrayed” by the move.

He said: “We have worked very closely with Ged. Up until Friday he was still involved in our campaign for this area.

“I know he was a keen Brexiteer and wanted a strong Brexit, but he never expressed to me, or to any colleagues, that he was considering going over to the Brexit Party: this has come as a shock.”

Mr Moore revealed that he has spent “many hours” campaigning with Mr McGrath who was previously the Conservative’s mayoral candidate.

He said that both he and his fellow Conservatives had believed Mr McGrath was “totally committed” to what the party was trying to achieve.

“They have a right to feel betrayed and let down,” he added.

Mr Moore said he should “consider his position” on the council given that he was elected as a Conservative not as a Brexit Party candidate.

Mr McGrath, who sat on three council committees as a Conservative, will now lose the party whip.

The councillor, who represents Millom, was unavailable for comment.

But speaking earlier this week, he said he had “listened to his conscience” in his decision to resign from the party and called for Britain to leave the European Union without a deal.

He said: “I voted to leave the EU. I didn’t vote to leave with a deal.

“We are left with having to back the Conservatives and a bad deal that was negotiated by Theresa May. We need to start with a blank piece of paper and go from there.

“The EU has no incentive to give anything other than a bad deal.”

Mr McGrath has also dismissed suggestions that he would split the Conservative vote, saying he hoped to attract Labour voters who voted to leave.

He will continue to sit on Copeland Council as an independent.

Barrow and Furness Conservative candidate Simon Fell has described Mr McGrath’s decision as “strange”.

“As Nigel Farage himself said, splitting the vote will only lead to a remain alliance getting in and either a second referendum or the result being overturned,” he said.