BASILDON’S Labour group has been planning for a no-majority election result for six weeks, its leader said.

The Conservatives lost control of Basildon Council in the elections on Thursday night with seven of the 14 seats on offer going to rival parties.

Labour went from 13 to 15 councillors, with the Independents climbing three places to six councillors whilst the Tories went from 23 to 20.

Gavin Callaghan, leader of Basildon Labour, said: “It’s one of our biggest victories in years and it has severely encumbered the Tories, they were rejected in four of the five key areas of the borough.

“We first began preparations for a no majority result around six weeks ago and now we hope those talks we’ve been having will help us towards creating a new administration.

“It’s quite a tight turnaround, we have to have everything ready for a week on Wednesday, but I’ve previously worked well with the Independents through 2017 and 2018, and there are many of the same players now.

“We hope that by the middle of this week we will have plans in place to form an administration to ensure Basildon’s future is not controlled by the Tories.”

Kerry Smith, leader of the Basildon Independent group, said: “I think it’s good for democracy that the Tories have lost control, and now we can look to forming a rainbow coalition to get things moving again.

“We have four different groups to work together. It won’t be quick or easy, but I’m confident we can work something out and get the show back on the road.”

Andrew Baggott, leader of the Basildon Conservative Group, said: “The night was quite disappointing, whilst we were still the largest party we did lose those seats. But now what we face is a potential administration between Labour and the Independent councillors.

“I say independent but several have previously allied with Labour and rested firmly in their camp in previous coalitions.

“The interesting thing now will be to see if these Independents are truly going to be completely free of party politics or whether they merge to be integrated with Labour’s policies.”