Almost all council discussions open to the public have been cancelled in Thurrock due to the general election, despite there not being any rules that require such a significant shut down.

On Wednesday the council confirmed to the Local Democracy Reporting Service that from November 11 almost every council meeting will be cancelled – including the final two cabinet meetings of 2019.

It comes despite other authorities in the region, including Southend Council and Basildon Council, confirming they have no plans to cancel meetings.

When Thurrock Council was asked why they had made the decision, a spokesman said: “Thurrock Council has cancelled all meetings taking place in the upcoming pre-election period, which starts on November 11 and lasts up to the close of poll at 10pm on 12 December.

“The only exceptions will be Planning Committee, Licensing Sub-Committee, General Services Committee and an extraordinary Full Council meeting taking place on November 27.

“This has been done in agreement with the group leaders of all parties.”

In total nine meetings will be scrapped, including committees that centre around scrutinising housing, public safety and the environment.

Cabinet meetings, which see council leaders making a range of vital decisions on council policy, are also cancelled for both November and December with no plans for another meeting until January 15.

It comes just two weeks after a full council meeting where councillors agreed that measures should be explored that prevent the council from shutting down during pre-election periods – commonly referred to as ‘purdah’.

Councillor Jane Pothecary, leader of Thurrock Labour, said: “This was the proposal set out by the chief executive on the basis of precedent here in Thurrock.

“Following a General Services Committee last month, it was agreed there will be a review of purdah and what it should mean, but that won’t report until March.

“There are some key deadlines the council needs to hit in terms of important decisions but the chief executive has assured us there are plans set out to make sure this happens.”

The Local Government Association, which Thurrock is a member of, stated in guidance published on Wednesday that councils should “continue to discharge normal council business”.

It adds: “Local government sometimes views this period as a time when communications has to shut down completely. This is not the case, and the ordinary functions of councils can continue.”

The UK is going to the polls on December 12 following months of disagreements and divisions over Brexit.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson called the election in the hope that the Conservative Party can gain enough of a majority that his party can easily pass new laws, making his Brexit plan easier to push through.

Meanwhile, Labour has promised that if they win there will be a second referendum, giving voters the chance to choose between a fresh deal or cancelling Brexit. The Liberal Democrats say they will abandon Brexit entirely, without a vote.

Jackie Doyle-Price will be standing for the Conservatives, John Kent will be the candidate for Labour and Kevin McNamara will stand for the Liberal Democrats.