THURROCK Labour were celebrating this week after making big gains at the Thurrock Council elections. Labour held all six of the wards they were defending and gained three more, to win a total of nine out of the sixteen seats up for election.
Labour gained Ockendon and Belhus from UKIP, while they also defeated the sitting Conservative mayor in South Chafford. It was the most gains that Thurrock Labour have recorded at a single election since Thurrock left Essex to become a unitary authority. It was also the first time that the South Chafford ward has ever been won by Labour.
Across the borough, with one third of councillors up for election, Labour won more votes and seats than any other party. As a result they overtake the Thurrock Independents to become the new official opposition group on Thurrock Council. The Conservatives remain the largest party.
Leader of the Thurrock Labour Group Oliver Gerrish said, “We’re absolutely delighted with these results. Going into the elections we knew we needed to show real progress, so to gain more seats than any other party is a huge achievement.
“I’m very proud of the work done by all our candidates and activists over recent months. We’ve been campaigning so hard over the last year and to see all that work pay off is hugely rewarding.”
Talking about what the local election results mean, Cllr Gerrish said “I think that residents have taken the opportunity to send a message to the local Tory council. They need to rethink their position on Orsett Hospital, they need to do more to tackle anti-social behaviour and they need to do more to tackle litter and fly-tipping in our borough.
“We had a very clear message going into these elections that we needed a fairer, safer and cleaner Thurrock. Our group will now look at the best way to ensure that Thurrock starts to move in the right direction following these local elections.”