A ROW between two councillors has resulted in one leaving his party with immediate effect.

Conservative Cllr Joe Watt, of Skelton, Rawcliffe and Clifton ward is considering standing independently in this year's local election after falling out with the party leader, Cllr Chris Steward.

Cllr Watt, who was elected in 2007, is opting not to stand against the Tory party leader and Cllr Ian Gillies, the current Lord Mayor of York, in May's Local Elections as a Conservative, when boundary changes come into effect.

Skelton, Rawcliffe and Clifton will become Rural West York and mean Cllr Watt no longer serves the people he has for the last eight years.

He said: "I've made it clear I will only represent the area where I live and think it will be ridiculous for me to stand as a councillor anywhere else.

"Chris Steward has decided he wants to run because it's a safe seat and I feel put out by that because I've served the Conservatives sine 2005 when I first started campaigning for them."

Cllr Watt also disagrees with Cllr Steward's stance on City of York Council's Local Plan.

The group will wait until after the General Election to make a decision on how they move forward with it as they believe it cannot be finalised and passed by councillors before then, but Cllr Watt has called for them to make a decision before this takes place.

He said: "I don't think the group wants me to be part of York Conservatives and I'm disappointed they haven't supported me to be considered for this ward because it's the local elections. I'm not sure the people of Skelton will appreciate someone from Micklegate representing them."

Cllr Steward said: "There's only one reason he's leaving in practice and that's because he doesn't think his record as a councillor will get him selected in Rural West York.

"I've lived in Rural West York for two thirds of my life, a lot longer than he has, been a governor at Rufforth School, know the people I work with, and will stand on my record.

"He was voting against group policy.

"For me this is a positive because his views are more and more out of sync with the group."