A Former mayor of Melksham and Wiltshire councillor has defected from the Conservatives to UKIP.

Councillor Rod Eaton, 66, announced on Wednesday he would be seeking re-election in May as a UKIP candidate, after six years as a Conservative.

He will also withdraw from his seat on Melksham Town Council, which he has held since 2007.

He said: “I no longer believe any of the three parties represent the people and have become quite disenchanted with the Conservatives.

“I had lost interest in standing as a Conservative counsellor, but when UKIP came along I thought their policies were much closer to what the people want. I have had it in my mind for a year or two, but have been thinking whether to stand down altogether or stand for a party I believe in.”

Cllr Eaton has represented Melksham North on Wiltshire Council since 2009 and before that sat on the West Wilts District Council. He was mayor of Melksham from 2010 to 2012.

He said: “I love the town council, but I’ve decided to stand down, partly for family reasons and to spend more time on the county council.

“My most wonderful moment when I was mayor was awarding the freedom of the town to the Air Training Corp.

“There has been some reaction from council leader Jane Scott, who said I haven’t done much, but I was mayor of Melksham and that’s a lot to me, if not to her.”

If re-elected, Cllr Eaton would become one of Wiltshire Council’s first UKIP members.

He said: “I think we will contest a third, maybe half of the seats. Definitely three or four seats in Melksham.

“I think it’s so important we get in at the lower level.

“We can get in at the higher level to get out of Europe, but we need to build our support at the bottom, as well. It can’t be a one-way push.”