TODAY'S annual meeting of Calderdale Council was rocked after a leading Conservative split from his group.
The decision by Coun Paul Rogan (Rastrick) seriously weakens the Tories who last year ran the council with 21 of the 51 seats. Following the recent election, this number was reduced to 20.
Councillor Rogan said his decision to resign the Conservative whip had not been taken lightly.
"There are deep and fundamental divisions between me and a majority of the group which do not seem to be reconcilable. I feel duty bound to withdraw.
"Voters have sent a clear message which should be listened to and I believe councillors ought to democratically submit to those wishes.
"I remain a Conserva-tive and will work for the party as much as I can," he said in a statement today.
The decision leaves Coun Rogan free to vote as an independent in the council chamber.