Essex

Independents take control of Southend Borough Council

Southend High Street Image copyright Julieanne Savage
Image caption Southend has joined a handful of councils in the UK to be controlled by Independents

An Essex council has become the largest authority in England to be controlled by an independent administration.

The announcement at the unitary Southend Borough Council was made earlier.

The new administration will be made up of 13 independents and councillors from Labour and the Liberal Democrats.

The council had been under Conservative control prior to the local elections and although still the largest single group, the Tories lost six seats.

The Local Government Association said there were only a handful of authorities in the UK controlled by independents.

'Uniting for the people'

The 13 independents have aligned themselves with nine Labour and five Lib Dems.

UKIP took five seats but are not part of the new administration.

Ron Woodley, new leader of the council, which has a £419m budget this year, said: "I am very pleased that we have all been able to unite for the common purpose of serving the local people of Southend."

Other Independent-controlled councils include Richmondshire and Epsom and Ewell in England, Powys and Pembrokeshire in Wales and Orkney and Shetland in Scotland.

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