THE LEADER of the Slough Tory group has today defected to Ukip, The Observer can reveal.

Cllr Diana Coad, a Conservative member for 49 years, said the decision to leave her political home has not been easy, but added she has received words of support from Ukip leader Nigel Farage.

She stood as the Conservative Parliamentary candidate for Slough in 2001 and 2010 - losing to Labour’s Fiona Mactaggart both times - but was overlooked for this year’s general election.

Cllr Coad, a Tory councillor in Langley St Mary’s since 2006, has blasted Prime Minister David Cameron on her way across the floor - saying the party has lost its traditional beliefs.

Speaking to The Observer at her Burnham Lane home this week, she said: “I no longer feel I can sit and represent the Conservatives.

“I don’t feel they are working to represent the people of this country. I feel Ukip is right for what I represent.” The eurosceptic said her main issues are leaving the EU and immigration. She said problems with A&E and GP pressures and housing and schools places shortages in Slough can be better addressed by Ukip.

She broke the news to Slough Tory councillors last night. It comes just months before the general election in May.

Cllr Coad, elected Slough Conservative Group leader in May last year, added: “I’m fond of my colleagues and the local association. It’s not done to damage them, it’s because of my own issues nationally. I feel Ukip can better represent the people of this country and of Slough. I hope they will stay friends.” When questioned about the seemingly new national headline every week revealing offensive views by people associated with Ukip, Cllr Coad said: “You always get, in any party, people who have strange and silly views. While we have freedom of speech, people will say these things.” She added: “I’ve never been politically correct. You should say what you believe and you should be able to say that.” She has thought about defecting since early last year and had been meeting secretly with Slough’s only Ukip councillor Andrew Mellor since May.

She also claims Farage said she was 'welcome’ at Ukip during a phone call a few weeks ago.

Cllr Mellor said the Slough Ukip branch will be 110% behind Cllr Coad. He added a number of Slough councillors, both Labour and Tory, had 'shared Ukip’s views and ambitions on a number of issues’ with him, fuelling the possibility of more defections.

In March 2013 it was revealed Cllr Coad had failed to make the list of Tory Parliamentary candidate In December last year, Cllr Coad said she 'chose not to' attend the selection of the Conservatives' prospective parliamentary candidate for Slough. Former Labour mayor of Ealing Gurcharan Singh was chosen