SOUTHEND’S Conservatives look poised to snatch control of the council as part of a minority administration propped up by the Independent Group and Resident’s First councillors.

Negotiations over who will form the next administration at Southend Council are continuing, one week after voters went to the polls, with the Independent Group suggesting it will rule out joining any future coalition.

But the group, leader by councillor Martin Terry, is considering teaming up with other minority groups to support the largest political party on the council - the Conservatives.

Ron Woodley, Residents First councillor for Thorpe Ward, also stated he would be supporting Southend’s Tories.

Speaking after the announcement of councillor Daniel Cowan as Labour Group leader, Mr Terry described Labour’s turnover of leaders as “a mistake”.

But he added: “We won’t go into a coalition. What the electorate has delivered to us is a very powerful position. Whoever is in administration, they are in a minority.

“At the moment the largest party is the Conservative Party and because of their numbers they can offer the most stability - that’s what we can see.

“Our role is to offer the town stability, so we may not even support a specific leader but we may help facilitate a stable council for the city this year.”

Mr Woodley added: “The Labour Group always seems to complain about the Conservative Party changing Prime Ministers but in the last year they have had three different leaders on Southend Council. They can no longer criticise the Conservatives.

“Over the last four years Conservatives here have been consistent. I will be supporting the Conservative administration.”

Tony Cox, leader of the Conservative Group, remains committed to forming a minority administration with the backing of some Independent members.

He said: “Internal elections are a matter for the Labour Group. What I’m surprised at that Labour who have been in administration now for three years have now got their third leader in three civic years. That doesn’t appear to me like the stability the city needs.

“I’ll be putting my name forward as part of the leadership contest because I think the city needs a new vision and direction.”