The Tories kept control of Southend Council after voters backed the party at the polls, despite Labour making the largest gain.

The Conservatives got 29 seats with a gain of one, Labour got 11 seats with a gain of two, Independents got eight seats with a loss of three, and Liberal Democrats got two seats with no change.

Labour closed the gap between them and the Tories.

The overall turn out for Southend at the polls was 32.21 per cent, one of the highest turn outs in South Essex.

John Lamb, Tory leader of Southend Council said the results were great news for the his party.

He added: “I think it’s been good for us, we gained one seat but also lost one which we are obviously sorry about.

“Overall, we have strengthened our party in this election. It was a very poor turn out at the polls.”

He said that its very important that residents understand the importance of voting in all elections not just the general election.

The Conservative leader said he felt that residents did think it important enough to vote in this local election.

He said: “It was slow across the borough, at the polls, throughout the day but it did increase during the evening.

“If residents do not vote then we could be at risk of losing democracy.”

In the 2016 local elections in Southend the Conservatives won 25 seats and gained three seats. They did not lose any seats.

The results were announced by Ali Griffin, chief executive at Southend Council, who was acting as returning officer at the count.

She said: “The election was really well run and the candidates were all in great spirits.”

It was her first time acting as returning officer for an election count.

The count was held at Southend Tennis and Leisure Centre, Garons Park, Southend.

Ballot boxes began to arrive at about 10pm, and after a short period of verification the counting began.

The results had all been announced by 1.20am on Friday May 4.

The council went into the election count with a total of 51 elected councillors and there were 17 seats up for grabs on the night.

Sir David Amess, MP for Southend West said he considered it had been a low key election campaign.

He was not willing to give any predictions before the final results were revealed.

He said: “I do not think that it was a buoyant atmosphere during the election campaign.”

He also said the turn out was disappointing and he told the Echo that residents need to be convinced of the importance in voting.