A FOURTH member of a Hampshire council has quit the Conservatives and defected to UKIP.

Lifelong Tory Mel Molyneux said no he longer wished to be associated with the party, which he accused of looking after the financial elite instead of those in need.

Last year three other Tory members of Totton and Eling Town Council, Chris Lagdon, Ron Scrivens and Cllr Molyneux’s son Ian also defected to UKIP.

Cllr Lagdon and Cllr Scrivens are also members of New Forest District Council and were protesting at the authority’s plan to make disabled motorists pay to park in council-owned car parks.

Civic chiefs later dropped proposals to scrap the free parking enjoyed by 10,000 Blue Badge holders in the district.

Mel Molyneux’s decision to join UKIP was revealed just moments after he completed his 12-month term as chairman of the town council.

He said: “I’ve resigned from the Conservatives because I can no longer associate myself with a national party which cannot or will not put Britain and its people first and seems to look after the financial elite rather than those in need.”

But Cllr Di Brooks, Tory group leader on the town council, hit back at his criticism of the party.

She said: “When there’s a recession it hits everyone but the Conservatives are doing their best to get us out of it.

Things are getting better and the employment situation is improving.”

UKIP is already the biggest opposition group on the 20-member town council.

The Conservative-controlled authority used to be run by the Liberal Democrats, but Cllr David Harrison is now the only Lib Dem on the council.

Commenting on the latest Tory defection to UKIP he said: “I don’t think this is likely to make much difference to the way the council is run.

“Decisions are not very often taken with politics in mind.”