UKIP’s leader at Arun District Council has called for by-elections after all three of her colleagues resigned.
Yapton’s Derek Ambler has become the third UKIP councillor to resign after Colin Cates and Vicky Rhodes left for the Tories two weeks ago.
Mr Ambler, according to an internal email sent by officers to all councillors, will sit as an Independent – but has not aligned himself to the Independent group.
Leader Ann Rapnik has aligned herself with the Independent group but has insisted this does not mean she has left the party, too.
She said: “I am definitely still UKIP. I am not allowed to stand alone if I want to partake in committees so I have to align myself with another party and I have chosen the Independents.”
The resignations will result in a change of political balance of the council, which will affect the number of councillors each party can allocate to committees.
The departing UKIP trio were not expected to call by-elections, with Mr Cates and Mrs Rhodes stating their principles had not changed.
Mrs Rapnik said: “I do think they should call a by-election as members have voted for them as UKIP councillors and if they are turning their back on UKIP I think residents have got a right to either select another UKIP candidate or stay with them.
“I feel sorry for our UKIP members when the people they have voted for have changed parties.”
Mr Ambler has been approached for comment.