A newly-elected councillor has vowed to “initiate the process for Basildon to exit from Essex County Council” after winning a by-election.

Emma Callaghan has been elected as the new councillor for Pitsea at Essex County Council after Thursday’s by-election.

The by-election was called following the sad death of Conservative councillor and Basildon Mayor Luke Mackenzie in March this year following a short battle with cancer.

Mrs Callaghan, the wife of Basildon Labour leader Gavin Callaghan, was elected after receiving 5,959 votes, with Craig Rimmer, representing the Conservative Party, in second with 4,360.

Mrs Callaghan said: “Thank you to everyone who voted for me in the Essex County Council by-election for Pitsea. I am honoured to have your support and am committed to making real changes for our community.

“Over the past five years, Essex County Council has received 7,036 claims for vehicle damage, with the most claims coming from Basildon, yet less than four per cent have been successful.

“Basildon Council retains just 14 per cent of its Council Tax, while the rest is given to Essex County Councl to fund their services. And since 2010, Essex County Council has closed more children’s centres than any other local authority in England.”

Ms Callaghan has vowed to “devolve the budget for potholes to Basildon Council, allowing us to manage our own roads and pavements”.

She has also promised to: “Initiate the process for Basildon to exit from Essex County Council, so we can keep our council tax in Basildon, not Braintree. Help deliver the first Youth Zone in Essex, providing essential services and support for our young people.

“Secure more investment in adult social care in Basildon so more people can grow old with support and dignity in our borough. Together, we will ensure that Basildon receives the attention and resources it deserves and show Essex County Council that we are not the County’s second class citizens.”

Following the by-election, Essex County Council is made up of 50 Conservative councillors, eight Liberal Democrats, six Labour Party councillor, 10 non-aligned councillors and one Independent councillor.