A South Gloucestershire Liberal Democrat councillor has defected to the Tories.

Julian Barge who has represented Bradley Stoke's Bowsland ward for seven years, has accused his old party of "nasty" campaigning and misleading voters.

"I have become increasingly disillusioned by the actions of the Liberal Democrats locally and the way in which they place greater importance upon securing party advantage through negative and sometimes nasty campaigning, rather than serving residents," he said.

"I have developed a strong respect for the way in which the Conservative Group on the Council conducts itself and the way in which they have taken a positive campaigning approach to local issues in contrast to the approach of my former party.

"The recent untrue accusation, by my former party, that the Conservative Councillor responsible for Education was responsible for 'cuts' was the final straw. I know that the Conservatives actually proposed higher investment levels in schools than the Liberal Democrats did. I do not wish to be associated with a party which seeks to deliberately mislead people in such a manner."

Former colleagues said Cllr Barge - a former mayor of Bradley Stoke - had not been chosen to fight the seat again for the Lib Dems.

Group leader Ruth Davis said: "I can understand that Cllr Barge would have been disappointed to have been unsuccessful when he sought to be re-selected as a Liberal Democrat candidate just a few weeks ago.

"As yet, I've still had no official correspondence from him and it is disappointing that he could not discuss these issues with myself as leader or with another member of the group.

"However, ultimately it is up to Cllr Barge to explain to the public why he has had a change of mind and has chosen this course of action."

Fellow Bradley Stoke Bowsland councillor Jon Williams said: "Cllr Barge now lives in Littleton and not Bradley Stoke and the people of Bradley Stoke want and need a local person to represent them. However, I am surprised he has joined another Party so soon to the end of his term.

Conservative Group Leader Cllr John Calway said Cllr Barge would be "an excellent addition to the team".

"I look forward to working with him to serve local residents and campaign positively on the issues which are important to them," he said.

The defection moves the political composition of the council to Lib Dem 31; Conservative 22; Labour 16 and UKIP 1