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Labour leader looking forward to two years of "relative stability"
10:24am Friday 4th May 2012 in News
LABOUR leader John Kent is looking forward to two years of “relative stability” after winning the Thurrock local elections.
Speaking to the Gazette after his group took overall control this morning, with 25 seats to the Conservative party’s 21, the leader of the council said he was pleased with the result, but there was “no room for complacency”.
He said: “I'm very pleased that having had a minority Labour administration for two years, we now have a majority.
“The thinness of that majority warns us that there is no room for complacency.
"A Lab majority means two years of relative stability in the council and that's important.”
Labour’s majority came after candidate Richard Speight took the Stanford East and Corringham Town seat from the Conservatives, giving the party its 25th seat.
Mr Speight said: “I'm absolutely delighted and honoured people have decided to place their trust in me.”
Another key seat for Labour was Stanford-le-Hope West, where councillor Terry Hipsey, who crossed the floor in 2009 after being elected a Conservative, held on to the seat.
Mr Hipsey said he was “elated” to be kept in.
He added: “"I would sincerely like to thank the electorate for giving me another term as ward councillor.
"I took a real chance when I crossed the floor. I was not happy with people in the Conservatives and the policies.
"Looking at the people in the Labour party I saw a group of people out to help the local people.
"We're here to help everybody."
As well as losing Stanford East to Labour, the Conservatives lost the Aveley and Uplands seat to UKIP.
A positive for the party, which held six seats, was candidate Andrew Roast taking the vacant Corringham and Fobbing seat, which was previously Concerned Conservative Ian Harrison’s before he stepped down.
Tory leader Phil Anderson said it was a “disappointing” night for the party.
He said: “We thought there was a realistic possibility of taking control of the council.
"Losing one seat to Labour and one to UKIP gave Labour the net gain they needed to take control of the council.
"Ockendon was the key ward and Labour failed to take control of that so we're not seeing significant move towards Labour.
"We lost seats to independents and UKIP and that was what did it for us.”