WITH the exception of several UKIP councillors Labour’s Cllr John Kent received a standing ovation across the Chamber after his speech following his resignation as Council Leader.
Cllr Kent paid tribute to new deputy Mayor Cllr Tunde Ojetola saying: "Tunde has had the dreadful thing of being in the wrong place at the wrong time and I am glad now that we can put an injustice right.
"Now is the time for someone else to spend the long hours in these offices trying to make ends meet and balance the budget. It’s over to you Graham or Rob, whoever wins.
"Anybody who knows me well knows that I will always do what is best for Thurrock and it would have not been right for me to try and carry on. Now is the right time. When we took over in 2010 Thurrock was a much different authority The Council was judged as not performing adequately and we were described as the third worst council in the country.
"I really do believe that Thurrock has turned the corner, we have balanced the books every year for six years, and grown our reserves.
"We are building serious amounts of council homes for local people, in education today 80 per cent of our schools are good. We have seen a delivery in jobs and growth.
"And I would like to remind everyone that we have worked cross party and brought local people together to fight another crossing of the Thames in our Borough.
"We now have very real challenges ahead and we will be robust in opposition. "
He concluded by saying: "It has been a privilege to lead Thurrock Council for the last six years."