After twice being elected mayor of Huntingdon and 12 years as a town councillor, Jennifer Sarabia has resigned from the Conservative Party.

Cllr Sarabia told The Hunts Post she will stand for Huntingdon West Ward as an independent candidate at the town council elections in May and is calling on others to follow her lead.

She said: "It is time to say enough to party politics. I have to ask myself where my loyalties lie - to the people of the town who elect me or to a political party? The answer is obvious. Less than one per cent of the population now belongs to a political party. The parties are on the decline.

"I invite other people to join me. Those of you who are interested in working for the good of the community and Huntingdon but who don't want to be part of the political party system.

"If you are interested in standing for office and contributing to the community, please get in touch with me."

Cllr Sarabia, a mother of two grown up daughters, Sarah and Vicky, said there was no tipping point or last straw, she had just grown up and become much more independent since she first stood for office.

"I've become a lot tougher. I have been a single parent for the past six years. Johnny (her American husband) left and went to Germany. I have no family nearby, my family is in the North East and his is in Texas, so I have had to manage on my own.

"It was a struggle but it made me stronger. Now I think it's time for a change and it's exciting."

She added that a council led by independents had worked in St Ives.

"The town has changed a lot and I want to keep my eye on it. The Commemoration Hall is alright at the moment but what about its long-term future? The same with the Cromwell Museum. There is lots going on and people should take notice of it and have their say."

She said she wanted to set up a Time Bank in Huntington, a scheme where people swapped their skills and banked up time rather than exchanging money. "I can still do that whether I get re-elected or not," she added.

Huntingdon mayor, Cllr Bill Hensley, said Cllr Sarabia was a good councillor and wished her well for the future.

"I have enjoyed working alongside Jennifer. She is a hard-working councillor who gives of her time to the community freely. She is passionate about what she does and I wish her well for the future." Mr Hensley said he had no concerns that there would be any mass exodus from the Conservative group.