AN MP has described a parish council in his constituency as “dysfunctional” in a letter sent to Conservative supporters.

James Wharton, Conservative MP for Stockton South, also explained in a letter seen by The Northern Echo that the Conservatives would not be fielding any candidates in next week’s elections to Yarm Town Council.

Instead the MP said he would be supporting Yarm Residents Association candidates in a by-election to elect three new councillors on Thursday, April 24.

Mr Wharton declined to comment when asked why he considered Yarm Town Council to be dysfunctional.

However in the letter he said “things need to change dramatically” and that was why he was supporting Yarm Residents Association candidates Lorraine Meakin, Martin Kenefec and James Wilkinson.

Long-standing Yarm councillor, Marjorie Simpson, defended the council saying that recently it had been less argumentative in committee meetings.

Former Conservative councillors, Jason Hadlow and Chris Johnson, recently resigned causing the need for a by-election.

The pair were associated with a Judicial Review to try to prevent Stockton Borough Council from imposing pay and display parking in Yarm, which was lost, costing Yarm tax-payers nearly £40,000. Mr Hadlow has officially proposed all three Yarm Residents Association candidates.

The only major political party that is fielding candidates is UKIP, including Stockton borough councillor Mark Chatburn along with Mandy Boylett and Tom Reay.

Coun Chatburn was previously a Conservative but has switched to UKIP. He stood down from Yarm Town Council in order to stand under his new political banner.

Other candidates include well-known local campaigner, Carole Jones, who is standing as a Yarm Independent. Fred Holmes and Paddy Morton, also Yarm Independents, have also put themselves forward for election.