Basildon: Tories maintain stranglehold

Echo: Tory Billericay MP John Baron with new councillor Luke MacKenzie Tory Billericay MP John Baron with new councillor Luke MacKenzie

BASILDON Conservatives increased their majority on the council after the local elections.

The Tories won the hotly contested Vange ward by 82 votes making Luke MacKenzie, 22, the youngest councillor on the authority.

He took the seat with 590 votes from incumbent councillor Jane Dyer, who stood as an independent, just weeks after she left the Labour group.

She polled just 72 votes.

Allan Davies, deputy Labour group leader, said the defeat meant Labour went into and came out of the election with ten seats.

The Tories now have 29 and the Lib Dems three.

Mr Davies said: "Although we lost Vange, it was only by a small margin. We have done better than we expected against a backdrop of less Labour support nationwide.

The BNP contested every ward but failed to win a seat although they took 15 per cent of the total vote, three per cent ahead of the Lib Dems.

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