LEADING Conservative Will Quince has stood down as leader of the Conservative group on Colchester Council to focus on the General Election.

Colchester is one of the Conservative party's top 40 target seats for next May's election for which Mr Quince has been selected as the Tory's prospective Parliamentary candidate.

Mr Quince, 31, was elected to Colchester Council four years ago and became group leader a year later.

Mr Quince stood in the last General Election, coming second behind the veteran Liberal Democrat MP Sir Bob Russell.

Sir Bob increased his majority to nearly 7,000 and it would take a swing of 15 per cent for the Tories to take the seat.

However, Mr Quince said: "It is one of the Conservatives' top 40 target seats and one we would need to win to form a majority in Parliament."

Mr Quince, 31, who also works as a solicitor, said the multiple roles were also time consuming and he needed to find more time for his family.

Nominations for the role of leader of the Conservative group close on November 3 and the new leader will take over from December 1.