A PETITION has been set up by residents demanding a defected Conservative councillor trigger a by-election.

Royal Borough councillor Gurch Singh (St Mary’s) has been called on by his own constituents to hold a by-election after switching to the Liberal Democrats following being expelled from the Tory party.

Alexander Cobb, a St Mary’s resident, set up the campaign group ‘Let St Mary’s Decide’ and the petition on change.org, believing politicians who switch parties should hold by-elections at the earliest possible date to see whether their voters agree with the decision.

Fifty-nine people have signed out of its 100-signature target.

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In response, councillor Singh said: “In July 2010, Councillor Wilson Hendry joined the Conservative Group from the Liberal Democrats.  I do not recall them organising a petition for a by-election then. Free of the Conservative whip, I can vote in the best interest of the residents and that is what I intend to do.”

Mr Cobb – who voted Conservative last local election – said “Cllr Singh was elected as a Conservative, not Liberal Democrat. The voters in St Mary’s chose a Conservative not a Liberal Democrat.

“By choosing to join another party, Cllr Singh has broken the trust of the people who voted for him.

“Calling a by-election will let St Mary’s decide whether or not it agrees with his decision and regain the trust of residents.”

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Last week, the leader of the council councillor Andrew Johnson (Con: Hurley and Walthams) announced in a statement Cllr Singh ‘has been permanently expelled’ from the Conservative party, claiming the St Mary’s representative was under internal investigation for a series of alleged code of conduct breaches.

The Royal Borough Liberal Democrats will meet today (June 29) to consider Cllr Singh’s application to join their party.