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Council power still hanging in balance
THE FUTURE of Castle Point Council is still undecided almost a week after the election.
The Conservatives still hold the most seats on the council, but not enough to run it as a majority.
A three-party coalition, between Conservatives, Ukip and the Canvey Independent Party, has been mooted as a way forward for the council.
But a decision is still no closer, as the Tories will not choose their new leader, after Pam Challis lost her seat, until tonight.
Colin Riley, secretary for Castle Point Conservatives, said: “Although each candidate up for election was told of their nomination yesterday, other members will not find out who is standing until they get to the confidential meeting – according to Conservative Party rules.”
He added once the leader and deputy have been chosen, they would meet with the chief executive of Castle Point Council tomorrow morning, to see if they can form a cabinet.
If they cannot do it alone, they will then have to open negotiations with other parties.
Alan Bayley, newly-elected leader for Ukip in Castle Point and Appleton ward councillor, said he was open to a coalition with all three parties, but he had not yet heard anything from the Tories.
He said: “At the moment we are doing nothing.
“It’s a waiting game. The Tories have to come to us as they are still the majority party, despite them not winning enough seats to run the council alone.
“There is a bit of a power struggle with the Conservatives at the moment, so they have got to get their act together first.
“Until we hear from them then we can’t make any decisions.”
Whatever the outcome, Mr Bayley said if Ukip was involved in a coalition they would be looking to limit any building on the green belt, including Canvey.
Dave Blackwell, leader of the Canvey Independent Party, previously said the council being run by a coalition made up of his party alongside the Conservatives and Ukip would be the best for the community.
On Thursday night, 20 Conservatives, 16 Canvey Independent Party members, and five Ukip councillors were elected.
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