THE Tories held their firm grip on power over Basildon Council following the local elections.

Council leader Tony Ball was celebrating following the announcement of the results to the local poll on Friday lunchtime, which returned 11 Conservative, two Labour and a single Liberal Democrat councillor.

The Tories can claim to have a genuine mandate as they secured 50 per cent of the vote, compared to 21 per cent for Labour and 17 per cent for the Liberal Democrats.

The Basildon turnout was 64 per cent, compared to just 29 per cent in the 2008 local elections and 33 per cent in the European poll..

Mr Ball held his Wickford Park ward with 3,580 votes, compared his nearest rival Labour’s Santa Bennett who polled 1,013 votes.

For the full story see Monday's Echo