UKIP has lost all of its councillors in the West Midlands after its last member on Dudley Council switched to the Conservatives this week.

The defection by Kerry Lewis has strengthened the Tories’ bid to run the authority which was left in no over all control at this month’s local elections with Labour and Conservatives both on 35 seats.

The Wordsley ward councillor’s switch puts the leader of Conservatives, Patrick Harley,  within touching distance of taking control of Dudley, needing only the support of the council’s lone independent.

Cllr Lewis’s move comes after her former six UKIP colleagues all lost their seats in  this month’s local elections.

Their loss mirrored a national collapse in the party’s vote which saw it lose 123 seats nationally.

Following their electoral collapse, UKIP MEP Bill Etheridge blamed the party leader, saying: “It’s now time for UKIP to look to the future. It’s time for Gerard Batten, the leader of UKIP, to think about his future.”

After defeats in Walsall, Solihull, Coventry and  Wolverhampton the party was almost wiped from the West Midlands political map.

UKIP has seen membership and votes plummet as it struggles to find a role after the Brexit referendum in 2016.

Cllr Lewis’s said her only other  remaining UKIP council colleague in the region was Robert Hall who represented the Kingshurst and Fordbridge ward in Solihull.

But shortly after the election he told council officials he would be sitting as an independent for the seat.

Cllr Lewis was unavailable for comment but Conservative member Paul Bradley confirmed she had switch allegiance to the Tories.

Former Wordsley councillor, UKIP's Paul Brothwood - one of those to lose to his seat at the recent elections - told the News he understood the reasons behind Cllr Lewis making the switch.

Mr Brothwood said: "I’m very disappointed because I brought Kelly into politics but I totally understand her decision.

"Our new party leader Gerard Batten has not supported local councillors and is bringing our party to its knees."

Dudley’s councillors  will now meet  on Thursday, May 17 to select the leader of the council for the next 12 months.