POLLY Billington has expressed her disappointment following her narrow defeat in last week’s general election.

The Labour candidate came second by just 536 votes in an extremely tight contest to Tory Jackie Doyle-Price, who’ll now represent Thurrock in Westminster for a second term.

Ms Billington said lessons will be learnt from the defeat.

She said: “The general election was a disappointing result for Labour. We ran a good campaign and spoke to thousands of people. We will learn the lessons from our defeat and continue listening to people in Thurrock.

“Labour will continue to stand up for people in Thurrock. I worry that five more years of the Tories will hit people hard. I and Thurrock Labour, and the rest of the community will hold Thurrock’s Tory MP to account over the next five years. When she makes important decisions, they must be in the interests of all of the people of Thurrock.

“We can take comfort in the fact that the politics of division and despair was defeated. But UKIP are still present in our community and so we cannot allow them to go unchallenged. Setting people against each other because of where they are from is not a solution to the challenges we face here.

“Labour will never stop listening and talking to residents, identifying the causes of their anxieties and understanding their ambitions. Then we will crack on with finding solutions. Together we can build a stronger, more prosperous, more equal and more confident community.”