THE former chairman of the Hendon and West Hendon Tory group has defected to UKIP after accusing the council of not having "proper Conservative values".

Adrian Murray-Leonard, who describes himself as "very Conservative" and a "self-confessed Thatcherite" has quit the party after 27 years.

He also hit out at current MP Matthew Offord, for whom he campaigned to get elected in May, describing him as a "jumped-up councillor" and "a boy doing a man's job".

His resignation comes after three councillors stepped down from prominent roles in the association last week.

Chairman of the Hendon association Councillor Joan Scannell left office along with Councillors Mark Shooter and Sury Khatri, who all said they wanted to spend more time concentrating on work and family.

Councillor Hugh Rayner, a Hale ward member, has taken over as the interim chairman following an AGM on Sunday.

Mr Murray-Leonard, who stood as a Conservative candidate in the May elections for the council, told the Times Series he was driven out by a complete lack of communication with Mr Offord and a perceived power struggle in the association.

He said: "Since he was elected in May, Matthew Offord has been uncontactable. As the local association we should be able to get hold of him and he should be telling us what he has been doing.

"But he's been like the Scarlet Pimpernel, invisible on the streets of Hendon.

"A lot of people worked very hard to get him elected and he doesn't have the courtesy to keep us informed so we can tell people on the streets what he's doing. We don't have a mobile or home number for him.

"I've never known an MP to become so unpopular in such a small amount of time. All he is is a mere servant of the people who voted for him, he shouldn't be running around thinking he's our master."

Mr Murray-Leonard, who joined the association nearly three years ago, said his decision was also based on the allowance scandal, where top Tory councillors tried to give themselves pay rises last summer.

At the time he spoke out against the plans, describing them as being "out of touch" with the current situation.

He said: "I cannot work with people who publicly support something like that. I don't want to get abuse when I knock on doors because of something they did. It was just wrong."

He now intends to stand for UKIP as their first candidate in Hendon at the next General Election, describing them as "the only party in this country which has integrity".

Mr Offord refused to comment.