A COUNCIL Conservative group has elected a former UKIP and Brexit Party councillor as its new leader.

Hapton with Park ward's Cllr Alan Hosker won a weekend contest sparked by the suspension of his predecessor Cllr Andrew Newhouse.

He now takes over the as leader of the Tory group which is part of the joint administration which has run the borough since Labour lost control in May

Cllr Hosker, also the Lancashire County Councillor for Padiham and Burnley West, joined the Conservative Party and group with two Brexit Party colleagues in January,

The taxi driver said: "I became involved in politics five years ago because the people of my area deserved a councillor who would work for them and I am known for campaigning to leave the European Union.

"The Conservatives delivered on Brexit and I'm delighted that the other Councillors have elected me to be lead the group on Burnley Council.

" I'd like to thank Cllr Newhouse for his two terms as leader and I look forward to continuing to move the party forward in Burnley and Padiham."

Cliviger with Worsthorne's Cllr Cosima Towneley said: "He was elected democratically with due process. That's how it goes."

Burnley Council Labour group leader Cllr Mark Townsend said: "It is the final piece of the jigsaw of the old UKIP taking of Burnley Conservative Party."

Liberal Democrat Group leader Cllr Gordon Birtwistle said: "The old moderate Burnley Conservatives seem to have become a right-wing Tory group."

Cllr Newhouse, who was never suspended nationally, has been reinstated to the council Conservative group.