A CONSERVATIVE councillor has vowed to stand as an independent after failing to be selected as the party’s candidate to replace Cllr Graham Payne’s Drynham Ward seat at Wiltshire Council.

John Knight claims that shortly before he died, Cllr Payne told him it was his wish that Mr Knight take over the councillor seat.

However, despite interviewing for the role in front of council leader Jane Scott, the former Trowbridge Town Council councillor Mr Knight was not selected and will now stand as an Independent.

He said: “I think it a kick to Graham’s legacy and memory that it was his wish for me to take over. If they think it is a safe seat and they won’t lose it they are wrong as I am going to fight hard for this seat.

“I will serve the people in that community if I get selected.”

Town Council councillor Andrew Bryant is the Lib Dem candidate for the Drynham Ward in Trowbridge.

Speaking on his way to go door knocking in the area, he said: “Some voters who have always been Conservative say they will never vote for them again. We have seen a huge return of support for Lib Dems.

“We haven’t heavily contested the seat before because Graham was a well known character and he was very active for the town.

“However that seat was Conservative and aligned with the party that scrapped youth workers, is closing Larkrise special school and has put up council tax by 4.99 per cent when the maximum was five per cent."

“I have seen the thresholds that people need ot meet before they get support go up and up under this council. The costs of social care are unavoidable but they have destroyed all other services.”

A Conservative candidate has been selected to run in the by election, but it is not yet known who this will be.

The by election for Drynham Ward will take place on July 4.

Applications to stand for elections close this Friday.