THE Conservative Party have clung on to power at Tendring Council thanks to the support of Ukip and a number of independent councillors.

It was thought that a coalition of Tendring First, Labour, the Liberal Democrats and independents could have formed an administration following the local elections on May 2.

The downsized council was left in no overall control after Tory candidates fell victim to nationwide anger with the party in Westminster.

But Neil Stock, leader of the 16-strong Conservative group, was re-elected as council leader on Tuesday night after gaining the support of Ukip’s five councillors, the three Holland-on-Sea and Eastcliff Matters councillors and independent St Osyth councillors Michael Talbot and John White.

Tendring First leader Terry Allen was also nominated to be council leader, but lost the vote by 26 votes to 21. Independent councillor Anne Davis abstained.

Mr Stock said he did not feel “triumphalistic” after being re-elected to run the council.

“We’ve got experience of running a minority administration for four years and we did it extremely well,” he said.

“We did it by being inclusive and working with the opposition on decision making as much as we could.

"We had one of best results in Tendring of any Conservative group in Essex - the overall percentage share of councillors only dropped slightly on 2015.

“Just a few months ago it looked liked we’d wipe the floor, but that disappeared because people aren’t happy with what has happened with Brexit at Westminster.”


  • Muted celebration - Neil Stock at the election count on May 2

Mr Stock said the new administration – made up of the Conservatives, Ukip and the Holland-on-Sea Group – would look to “continue to put Tendring on the map”.

“I thank all members for the trust they have placed in me, I want this district to be the best district in Essex, the most economically successful," he said.

“It won’t be easy, we won’t do it all in four years but the works starts now.”

Mr Stock added it had been a "close race" with Mr Allen to be leader and that his opponent had "every right to try to form an administration".


  • Angry - opposition group spokesman Terry Allen

Mr Allen, spokesman for the opposition, said residents would be unhappy with those independents who are propping up the Tory-led administration.

He said: “After 66 per cent of the residents of Tendring went and voted for a non-Tory council, five independent councillors crossed the floor of the council to prop up a failing Tory administration which now consists of defunct national party members, defunct European party members aided by a defunct erstwhile councillor - Mark Platt - who as chairman used his casting vote which stole the opportunity for the vast majority of the electorate to have what they desired - an independent administration.

“I’m disappointed and angry, but most of all I’m ashamed that our council will be run under this Tory administration due to a handful of councillors who let down all those that put a mark by their names on a ballot paper.”

Labour leader Ivan Henderson added: “It was really disappointing, I thought the independents would hold together, but they let us down.

“Independents were elected across district, but they have let the electorate down by putting in an administration that wasn’t wanted by the public.”

“The cuts that we’ve had over the past four years will now continue.

“The public were looking forward to a fresh start with a council that had the enthusiasm and energy to make a difference to residents in Tendring.”


  • Concerned about cuts - Labour group leader Ivan Henderson

Joy Broderick, leader of the Holland-on-Sea and Eastcliff Matters group, defended her decision to back the Conservatives.

She said: “We’re working in a coalition with the Tories - in our judgment that’s the best option for the people of Holland-on-Sea and east Clacton as they produced the sea defences and are encouraging the new surgery.

“It was a soul-searching decision, but we felt it was the right thing to do.”

Ukip group leader Mary Newton added: “Labour and the Lib Dems aren’t allowed to sit with us, but we have worked with the Holland-on-Sea councillors for the past four years - and we’ll still work with them.

“Hopefully, this means we will have a louder voice in meetings.

“For four years in opposition we’ve been unable to do anything, although we still worked hard for our residents.”

Daniel Land (Con, Thorpe) was elected as the new council chairman.

The vote was split 24-24, but Mr Land was appointed thanks to outgoing chairman Mark Platt’s casting vote, despite Mr Platt losing his own seat at the election. Jeff Bray (Con, Weeley) was elected as vice-chairman.

Mr Land said: "I'm exceptionally proud and would like to thank the voters of Thorpe who have put me in this position.

"During the year, I'll be raising money for Crescent Cat Rescue and the Essex and Herts Air Ambulance."

It is expected that Mr Stock will appoint his deputy leader and cabinet in the next few days.