Elections 2014 Essex: Conservatives lose control of four councils

Victorious UKIP at Basildon
Image caption The Conservatives lost control of four councils, losing seats mainly to UKIP

The Conservatives have lost control of four councils in south Essex following voting in Thursday's local elections.

The party, which was the largest at Basildon, Brentwood, Castle Point and Southend councils, has mainly suffered losses to UKIP and those authorities now have no overall control.

Labour has lost control of Thurrock to no overall control, but retained control of Harlow.

The European Parliament election vote will be counted on Sunday.

UKIP made 11 gains in Basildon and five in both Southend and Castle Point.

Image caption Tony Ball, Conservative leader of Basildon District Council was voted out

A party source said there was no particular strategy to target Essex.

"It's just a reflection on how organised we are becoming in areas of the country," he said.

In Basildon, the Tory council leader Tony Ball, who pushed through the controversial traveller evictions at Dale Farm, lost his ward to UKIP.

He was one of seven Conservatives to lose their seats, while Labour lost three and the Lib Dems one.

The Tories remain the largest party with 17 seats, UKIP has 11, Labour 10, the Lib Dems one and there are two independents.

In Castle Point, the Conservative leader of the council Pam Challis lost her seat to UKIP.

In Brentwood, the Conservatives lost one seat to the Liberal Democrats, one to the Brentwood First party and one to Labour, which means the council now has 18 Conservative, 11 Lib Dem, five independent and three Labour councillors.

Image caption Councillor David Harrison for the Wickford Ward of Basildon Council said people wanted change

In Southend, the council now has 19 Conservatives, the Liberal Democrats join UKIP on five after losing four seats, Labour gained three seats bringing their total to nine and there are 13 independents.

Labour losses

Labour lost two seats in Thurrock as UKIP gained five seats there. Overall, Labour now has 23 seats, the Conservatives 18, UKIP six, there are two independents and the Lib Dems remain without a seat.

Labour retained control of Harlow Council, despite losing three seats to UKIP, who won five seats in total as the Conservatives lost one and the independent lost his.

The Conservatives have retained control of Rochford.

Colchester remains with no single party in overall control.

The Conservatives retained control of Epping Forest but lost two seats. The Lib Dems also lost one but UKIP took two and the Green Party one.

Voting also took place across Essex for the European Parliament's East of England constituency and the count is due to take place on Sunday night.

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