THE chairman of the Ribble Valley Conservative Association has resigned with immediate effect.

Coun Michael Ranson, who was elected for a third and final year as chairman recently, informed members of his decision on Friday but has not formerly given a reason.

Currently the borough’s mayor, Coun Ranson was leader of Ribble Valley Council from 2007 to 2013.

Party members say he has relinquished his role to concentrate on mayoral duties.

His deputy, Coun Simon Hore, has been made the interim chairman, with Coun Ged Mirfin stepping up to be his deputy.

An extraordinary AGM will be organised to elect a permanent chairman.

Despite multiple attempts, Coun Ranson didn’t answer the Lancashire Telegraph’s calls.

Ribble Valley MP Nigel Evans said: “I’m grateful for all of the support that he has given me. I wish him well in his year as Ribble Valley Mayor.” Mr Evans has confirmed Coun Ranson would not act as his election agent if he is re-selected for the 2015 election.

Stuart Hirst, Coun Ranson’s successor as council leader, said: “I’m greatly saddened to hear the news of his resignation. He has been very dedicated and hard working as chairman.”

Former chairman Coun Ken Hind, speaking on behalf of the association, said: “We all recognise that facing a parliamentary election and re-election of borough councillors on two councils involved in finding and fielding 60 candidates all in one year is an onerous duty alone and Michael has also the responsibilities of Mayor of the Ribble Valley.

"We all recognise that doing both jobs places huge demands in terms of time upon one person and respect his desire to be first citizen of the borough and perform the role to the full.

“We wish him well in his year as mayor.”