AN EX-HIGH Wycombe Mayor has dramatically quit the Conservative party and defected to the Liberal Democrats.

Cllr Paul Lambourne, representing Sands, said he has become “very unhappy” with the leadership of Cllr Lesley Clarke.

He also cited the “disgraceful” behaviour of current Mayor Cllr Jane White in the recent row with ex-Mayor Cllr Julie Pritchard.

He decided to switch to the Lib Dems – the second biggest party at Wycombe District Council – after becoming “disillusioned”, adding his new colleagues “ respect diverse views”.

It follows the resignation 13 days ago of another Conservative, Cllr Dennis Green, representing Princes Risborough, who said there is “internal warfare” among Tories at WDC which is “tearing the party apart”.

He quit to be an independent.

He told WDC Chief Executive Karen Satterford in a letter: “In recent months I have become very unhappy with regards to the style of leadership of the current Leader of the ruling Conservative Group.

“I am also very concerned about the disgraceful behaviour and actions of the current Town Mayor during a recent Charter Trustee Meeting, where she continues to verbally attack a former Town Mayor and colleague.

“During the same public meeting the Mayor accused the Town Clerk of fabricating the truth, which is outrageous and unacceptable.

“After careful consideration and soul searching I have decided I can no longer remain on the Conservative back benches, and hereby give notice that I will be crossing the floor to the Liberal Democrats with immediate affect.

“I know the Liberal Democrats welcome, and respect diverse views from all their members, and I look forward to working with them in the future for the benefit of all the residents.”

Cllr Lambourne, the town's Mayor in 2008/9 when he raised nearly £19,000 for The South Bucks Hospice, did not intend to stand for re-election in May.

But he will now stand as a Lib Dem in a different ward – if the party chooses to select him.

He came to this decision because he was “so angered by the damage being done by the infighting in the Conservative group”.

He has endorsed Sand Liberal Democrat candidates Reg Rundle and John Dennis.

WDC Liberal Democrat Group Leader Cllr Steve Guy said he was “delighted” to welcome Cllr Lambourne who he said had an “outstanding record of service to the local community.”

Cllr Guy said: “Paul is a local man born and bred in High Wycombe so we feel honoured that he has chosen to join the Liberal Democrats.

“I believe he will be a great asset to our team.”