The former leader of Sandwell's Conservative group has walked out on the party.
Councillor Tony Ward was replaced by Grove Vale ward member Councillor Ray Nock as leader of the opposition group, after a vote at the party AGM on Tuesday.
It followed a poor performance in the local elections which saw the Conservatives lose two of their 13 council seats in Sandwell.
Councillor Ward has now walked out on the Tories and today vowed to form his own breakaway party, based on "Conservative principles." He will continue to sit on the council as an
independent councillor until then. He claimed he was "stitched-up" in the leadership battle and said he could no longer trust his former Tory colleagues.
He said: "It looks like I've been the sacrificial lamb because of the poor performance of Conservatives in Sandwell.
And he added: "I've been a councillor mainly because I've tried to see to the welfare of Sandwell and that is my only concern. I intend to continue to do my best for everyone."