A CONSERVATIVE councillor on Taunton Deane Council has resigned from the party saying the decision to have a referendum over the UK's membership to the EU was "unforgivable".

Councillor Gwil Wren, has served as the Conservative councillor for Milverton and North Deane since 2011.

He said he had planned on making the announcement after the upcoming county council elections on May 4, but that swift movement of events made him release his statement now.

Mr Wren said he will serve the rest of his term as an Independent.

He added: "Ever since last years EU Referendum I have been seriously considering my membership of the Conservative Party.

"I joined and stood for them because I believed in the 'One Nation' message that the Party has always espoused.

"Unfortunately the events of the last two years have shown my faith in the Government adhering to these principles has been misplaced and it is clear that the Party is moving rapidly to the right.

"Therefore it is with sadness I acknowledge that I can no longer support or represent the Conservative Party as a Taunton Deane Councillor.

I have always supported UK membership of the EU and was dismayed that David Cameron was prepared to put 40 years of economic and political stability in Europe at risk simply to heal the divisions within the Conservative Party.

"Far from healing the Party he managed to split the country, and possibly fatally weaken Europe.

"To me this was unforgivable but he did at least have the honour to resign immediately.

"However, since then it is clear that Theresa May, rather than taking stock, has decided to embrace Brexit with all the zeal and myopia of the convert.

"Principally this seems to be because supporting Brexit offers an electoral opportunity to control people who would never otherwise contemplate voting Conservative.

"It is this kind of short term, cynical, party before nation attitude that really disturbs me.

"Yesterday's announcement of a snap election is all about seeking to consolidate Tory power rather than leading and healing a nation in a turbulent and uncertain period.

"I had intended to delay announcing my resignation until after the County Elections however, events have moved swiftly and I have decided to release this statement now.

"Therefore I have tendered my resignation from the Taunton Deane Conservative Group to Cllr John Williams and will serve the rest of my term as an Independent Councillor.

"I will continue to serve my electorate and consider issues in Taunton Deane in the same even handed and fair way I have always done and will cast my votes accordingly.

"Finally, I would like to confirm that I have no issues with my former party colleagues in Taunton Deane and would like to thank John Williams and the Conservative Group for all the help and support they have offered me over the last seven years."

Con cllr Mark Edwards, who represents Trull on the borough council said he was sadden by Gwil's decision, but added that he had nothing but enormous respect for him.

He added: "Gwil has been a fantastic councillor and I'm sure will continue to be one for Taunton Deane.

"We've had many chats with him and respect his decision, it is clearly a national issue for him and we totally respect it.

"We will continue to work together with him and politics aside, that is one thing about the council, everyone always tries to work together for the benefit of Taunton Deane.

"As for Gwil himself and on a personal level, I have enormous respect for him and he is an excellent councillor."