BASILDON Council leader Phil Turner has warned he may block “unfit” Ukip councillors from holding influential posts – even if it casts doubt over his Tory group’s ability to run the council.

Last week’s elections saw the Conservatives gain only one seat from Ukip, leaving it with 18 of the council’s 42 seats – too few to command a majority in the council chamber.

Billericay West councillor Mr Turner has been reselected as Tory group leader with his deputy Kevin Blake also continuing in his post.

However, Mr Turner has warned fundamental disagreements with Ukip - the second largest group on the council, with 11 seats, could make it hard for his group to get its policies approved.

Last year, Ukip was given two seats in the main decision-making body, the cabinet, with Ukip members also filling the posts of deputy mayor and leader of an important audit committee.

The right-wing party accepted the cabinet seats, which did not include any special areas of responsibility because Labour turned down one of them.

However, Mr Turner is reluctant to make a similar offer this year, because he says Ukip has failed to act in the interests of residents.

He explained: “I’m really disappointed with Ukip. The vast majority of them are not fit for governing locally.

“It is very difficult to think about including Ukip and I have to makeadecision.”

Mr Turner claims Ukip voted down plans for the new Wickford Health Centre for party-political reasons.

He is hoping a fresh vote can be held on the issue, if the minority Tory group can secure a majority on the council planning committee.

However, Mr Turner accepted there was a chance his tough line might prevent him forming a minority administration later this month.

He said: “If I don’t offer Ukip, Labour or the independents anything, they might all vote against the order paper.

“The long and short of that would be not getting a minority administration. I need to make compromises with the Ukip leader and put aside party politics to focus on the residents.”

The nine-strong Labour group has appointed Pitsea North-West ward member Gavin Callaghan as its leader, replacing Byron Taylor.

Mr Callaghan said: “Now we have a Conservative majority government, we know what is coming.

“We need to articulate our opposition to council cuts and the carnage which is about to be unleashed on Basildon.”

Langdon Hills councillor Linda Allport-Hodge, who leads the Ukip group, insists her party will make no deal with the Tories, but will continue to vote on an issue-by-issue basis.

She added: “We will make every effort to ensure the council functions properly and maturely.

“Politics in Basildon needs to grow up and act in the best interests of residents.”