Conservative who defected to Brexit Party stands down triggering by-election

Viral Parikh left the Conservative Party at the start of August
Viral Parikh left the Conservative Party at the start of August

A Conservative county councillor who defected to the Brexit Party to stand as a general election candidate in Sunderland is stepping down.

Viral Parikh was elected to West Sussex County Council as a Tory for the Bourne division in 2017.

But in early August he was unveiled as one of a number of prospective parliamentary candidates by the fledgling political party led by Nigel Farage.

Mr Parikh said he chose to leave the Conservatives because of the way his party had handled Brexit.

He is a pharmacist by trade and studied at Sunderland University, before going on to work in Sunderland and Hartlepool.

When asked if he planned to continue as a county councillor until the general election is called, he said: “Absolutely. Nothing has changed. I will be working for my residents from the opposition.”

But earlier this week he resigned, meaning a by-election will be held for the Bourne division, which is west of Chichester and includes the parishes of Westbourne, Southbourne, Compton, Stoughton, Marden, Chidham & Hambrook and West Thorney.

A date has yet to be announced.