THE GOLDEN couple of the Royal Borough's Conservatives have defected to the UK Independence Party in response to the Coalition Government's budget announcement.

Former mayor, Councillor Catherine Bursnall, and her husband, Cllr Tom Bursnall, ditched the ruling Tories on Wednesday night to join ranks with a party that has no Royal Borough councillors and no Members of Parliament.

Tom and Catherine, who represent the Clewer East and Castle Without wards respectively, said the budget, and particularly the reasons for tax reforms were the "last nail in the coffin".

In a joint statement they said: "After a combined 24 years of loyal service, and having pushed more leaflets through more doors than we wish to remember, it is with some regret that we have this evening decided to leave the Conservative Party and join UKIP.

"It is no longer the party for the aspirational 'go getter', no longer the moral crusader for a lower taxed nation, and no longer the party that trumps meritocracy over political gesture."

Mr Bursnall has long been known for his controversial and radical outbursts. Only last month he accused his fellow Tory, Cllr George Bathurst, of "acting like a communist" at a planning meeting in Windsor but the move will shake the Conservatives who have previously championed the couple's youthfulness and dynamism.

The couple confirmed they supported UKIP's key aim to get the UK out of the European Union and described it as the "worst return on investment ever seen in business or politics".

The Bursnalls stopped short of criticising the Windsor and Maidenhead Conservatives, instead praising them for continuing to cut taxes for residents, and confirmed they would continue to support them on the council.

UKIP were celebrating their coup on Wednesday night and a spokesperson for the party did not rule out the couple staking a claim for high profile roles within the party.

Nigel Farage, UKIP leader, said: "I am delighted to welcome Mr and Mrs Bursnall to the UKIP ranks. Such high calibre and talented political people are testament to the growing potency of UKIP as a political force."