A fifth Merton Conservative has left the group after being suspended. 

Councillor Chris Edge, for Dundonald, was suspended on Thursday after a dramatic council meeting on Wednesday.

Four Conservative councillors shocked the chamber by resigning from their party at the council’s annual Mayor Making meeting over claims of "backstabbing and duplicity" in the party, with Coun Evans announcing her intention to form a new group. 

Coun Krystal Miller, for Trinity ward, was set to be appointed Mayor of Merton unopposed, but at the last minute Councillor Suzanne Evans put forward fellow Conservative Councillor Chris Edge for the position, who she said had had the mayoralty "stripped from his grasp" twice before because of a culture of "back-stabbing and duplicity" in the party.

Coun Edge confirmed he was aware that he was to be put forward as a candidate.

Coun Miller was appointed Mayor of Merton following the sudden nomination with 53 votes to 4. 

This morning it was confirmed that Coun Edge had also left the group after his name was listed on Merton Council’s website as an ‘independent' member, alongside the four former Tories.

It was believed Coun Edge has resigned from the group, however it later emerged that he had been suspended with his name added to a list of 'independent' councillors without his knowledge. 

Coun Edge said: "I have been suspended from the party on the basis that I stood against an official candidate of the conservative party. 

"The leader of Merton Conservatives ordered officers to remove my name from the Merton Conservatives website. 

"Frankly I feel its a classic example of the behaviour of our members who didn't even tell me. 

"The first I knew of it was when a friend sent me an email to say I had left the party."

However he said his issue was with his fellow conservative councillors and not the conservative party as a whole.

He said he would probably be a conservative "until he died", but that didn't mean he would remain a member of the party. 

He added: "I will still act in my residents' best interests and work with my fellow councillors Councillor Grocott and Councillor Dean who had no part in the events on Wednesday night."

This morning Coun Moulton, leader of the Merton Conservatives, said: "I can confirm that Chris Edge was yesterday suspended as a member of the Conservative Party in Wimbledon, along with Cllrs Evans, Hilton, Rod Scott and Linda Scott.

“The Merton Conservative Group Constitution clearly states that a councillor must be a member of the Conservative Party in order to be a member of our Group.“

"Since Chris Edge is not currently a member of the Conservative Party, I have had no option but to remove the whip from him in accordance with the Group Constitution.

"He is therefore no longer a member of our Group.”