ROB Gledhill has taken over as the borough's Conservative group leader.

He was elected at a Tory meeting last night.

The Little Thurrock Rectory ward councillor takes over from Phil Anderson, who lost his Stanford East and Corringham Town seat in the local elections two weeks ago, to Ukip candidate Roy Jones.

James Halden, the Homesteads ward councillor, has assumed the role of deputy leader.

Both Mr Gledhill and Mr Halden retained their seats in the recent elections, staving off Ukip, who were resurgent all over the borough.