The Liberal Democrats in Kingston will face their first electoral test since entering coalition government after a councillor resigned after 15 months.

Councillor Umesh Parekh was one of three Lib Dems who triumphed at last May's elections ousting two sitting Conservative councillors in the previously safe Surbiton Hill ward.

He won by just 103 votes.

Commentators have suggested support for Edward Davey MP and the Liberal Democrat’s unfulfilled promise to abolish university tuition fees helped the Lib Dems win the ward.

Councillor Parekh said he stood down because he had started working in IT for Friends of the Earth, which does not allow staff to simultaneously hold a council seat.

He said: "In the current climate I needed some money because I was not making enough, so I came across this job and went for it.

"They only mentioned the restriction after they interviewed me and offered me the job.

"Me and my fellow councillors have done a lot of work since we were elected and covered a lot of ground. I think we can hold it."

Former Conservative councillor Paul Johnston, who represented the ward for 12 years, immediately threw his hat in the race to become the Tory candidate.

He said: "I have been quite active in the ward for the last 15 months.

"When you have 12 years of life in a ward like that, you really do care about it. There’s quite a lot of me invested in it, and I think I know every part of it."

The by-election will take place on Thursday, September 15, with a Thursday, August 18, deadline for people wishing to be a candidate.

See for more information about how to stand in the election or register to vote.