SOUTHEND’S new Tory council leader is to face a vote of no confidence…just days after taking power.

Tony Cox confirmed in a statement this afternoon that his leadership will be challenged at an extraordinary council meeting, called by five independent councillors.

Officers at Southend Council have now confirmed five councillors have called for the meeting to take place to consider removal of Mr Cox as council leader. The meeting will take place on June 3. 

Mr Cox was elected leader of Southend Council on May 9 despite the Conservatives losing their majority at the local elections.

Labour, Lib Dems and independents could not agree to form an administration to take control of the council which meant Mr Cox was elected despite having no overall majority.

Earlier this week, the Echo told how rumours of a challenge were circulating but, at that point, neither Labour nor the independents would fire the starting gun.

In his statement, Mr Cox said: “Despite only being leader for a week, not holding a single meeting and launching a ten-point plan which has been welcomed by residents and businesses, it comes as a surprise that a motion of no confidence has been called.”

Labour and the independents could not agree to form an administration before the meeting on May 9, despite talks.

Independents would not work in an adminstration with a political leader. 

It is not clear whether Labour and the independents have yet come to any agreement since.