A BRIDGWATER county councillor has defected to the LibDems just four months after being elected as a Conservative - slamming the new Tory administration as 'disastrous'.

Cllr Stephen Gill narrowly fought off Labour leader Pat Parker to gain the Bridgwater South seat in June, but has now crossed over party lines to join the side he helped to oust from County Hall.

Explaining his decision to the Mercury, Cllr Gill said the amount of money spent to find a new county council chief executive, the pay freeze at County Hall and the closure of the Sedgemoor Splash had all contributed to his decision.

He said: “When I was elected, I went on a vote for change - but this has been change for the worst.

“Everything the Conservatives seem to touch is falling apart.

“Things have gone disastrously wrong very quickly.”

Cllr Gill also attacked what he claimed were possible cuts in county council funding for PCSOs, after Taunton's LibDem MP Jeremy Browne this week claimed £129,000 funding for the support officers would be cut in the council's next budget.

He added: “Our PCSO in Hamp interacts with children brilliantly.

“If she goes it would be a big loss.”

But Cllr Gill denied suggestions he had short-changed those who voted for him as a Conservative.

He said: “I was elected to serve in this division and I will continue to help the whole community.”

Jill Shortland, LibDem leader on the county council, called Cllr Gill a 'man of principle'.

She said: “He is a strong voice who has always stood up for local people. This decision shows he feels he can better serve local residents by joining the LibDem group, and we are delighted to have him on board.”

Somerset County Council stressed no decision had yet been taken on PCSO funding.

The Mercury could not contact the Conservative group on Friday.