The only councillor on Swindon Borough Council who is neither a Conservative nor Labour member has resigned.

Emma Faramarzi was elected in 2018 as Conservative candidate for Priory Vale and had previously served in the group’s cabinet during her 10 years as a councillor – but she left last year.

She has been sitting as an Independent Tory with her partner, former Conservative councillor Oliver Donachie.

After Mr Donachie lost his Haydon Wick seat to a Conservative challenger in Thursday’s elections, Coun Faramarzi was the only councillor left in the new chamber of 57 councillors not to be a member of the winning Conservative group or the Labour opposition.

She has now put in a letter of resignation, a year ahead of the end of her four-year term, and a by- election will be triggered.

Coun Faramarzi said: “I have been thinking about doing this for some time, going back two years, but I didn’t want to resign and cause a by-election and the expense to the taxpayer that would mean.

“But when the issue with the PCC election, and Jonathon Seed being disbarred came up, and it became obvious there would  have to be a new election there, it seemed the right time to do it. It means  the by-election for my seat will be at the same time as the PCC election, which would be happening anyway, so my resignation wouldn’t be causing any more expense.”

After Coun Seed gained the most votes in Thursday’s election for Police and Crime Commissioner but is unable to take up the post owing to an old driving conviction, a new election seems likely although the returning officer Terence Herbert said he is seeking legal advice and will set out the process for a fresh election.

He said: "Given this unprecedented situation and given the circumstances, I will be seeking legal advice on the next steps and at that point I will be able to make any statements necessary about the position.”

Coun Faramarzi said: "This is the right decision for me, at the right time. I’ve served 10 years as a councillor, and I wish whoever is elected instead of me the very best.”