IN the wake of the Conservatives' success in holding on to power in Thurrock, council leader Terry Hipsey spoke of his delight that his party has got another two years in office.

Though the Conservatives don't have an overall majority, they have two more councillors than Labour and the existing alliance with East Tilbury independent councillors John Purkiss and Barry Palmer means they have a grip on the council.

Both mainstream parties have said they will pay little credence to the solitary BNP councillor, Emma Colgate - though she was quick to get her retaliation in first by accusing the main parties of corruption and complacency and said that she didn't want to work with them.

Councillor Hipsey said: "I'm glad that the people of Thurrock have chosen the Conservatives as the party to be trusted with the borough's finances and the welfare of residents."

Labour leader John Kent drew some consolation when comparting his party's performance in Thurrock with the national situation, where Labour took a pounding.

He said: "I think given the national backdrop to have ended up in exactly the same position as we were before tonight, we have to take some comfort from that.

"It's disappointing that the BNP have gained a seat and it's disappointing that we've lost a good ward councillor in Gordon Gambier.

"I'd like to pay tribute to all the work he's done over the last 25 years."

Organiser for the BNP in Thurrock, Dave Strickson, reflected on the overall result.

He said: "We're very pleased that we've got one seat. We know our overall vote has gone down but we planned to get at least one seat and not worry about the overall votes.

"We're really pleased with the votes we got in Orsett. "

Ironically, after lambasting the Thurrock Gazette in election literature and launching a personal attack on editor Neil Speight in leaflets, he added: "I'd also like to thank the Thurrock Gazette for the fair coverage of our campaign."

Thurrock Council's chief executive Angie Ridgwell said of the election: "It was a well played election all round."