Labour councillors want the party’s national leadership to press for legal changes to prevent plants as important as the Coryton oil refinery going bankrupt and closing down.

The Labour group on Thurrock Council wants the law on bankruptcy and administration changed to protect sites of national importance such as Coryton.

The refinery, off The Manorway, Stanford-le-Hope, was said to be worth around £250million to the local economy, before it was closed, with the loss of about 800 jobs.

The closure comes after administrator PriceWaterhouseCoopers, failed to find a buyer to save the refinery, instead selling it to Shell, Royal Vopak and Greenergy as a storage depot.

Labour councillors have passed a resolution which they hope will be adopted at the Labour Party conference in Manchester at the end of the month.

Polly Billington, Labour Parliamentary candidate for Thurrock, said: “Businesses sometimes fail, and it would be wrong for any government to pledge to protect them all.

“But Coryton was an important part of the energy infrastructure of the country, as well as sustaining more than 800 jobs.

“It makes sense if a company running something like that goes bankrupt, for the administrators to have to consider the national implications of closing it.

“I really hope we get the chance to make our case at conference.

“South Essex and the whole country is worse off for the closure of Coryton. We would like to make sure, if Labour was in government, important energy infrastructure could be protected.”