TORIES in Thurrock have lost their majority on the council after the defection of Conservative councillor Stuart St Clair-Haslam.

The ward councillor for Little Thurrock has formed an alliance with Corringham and Fobbing councillor Anne Cheale.

She was deselected by the Tories in March after tabling a motion of no confidence in Conservative council leader Garry Hague.

Mrs Cheale confirmed Mr St Clair-Haslam has joined her in what she calls the “Concerned Conservatives” group.

Mr St Clair-Haslam is believed to have quit the group citing a lack of support from council leader Garry Hague over a row between officers and planning committee members about whether planning permission for two developments on green belt land should be granted or not.

The Tories were celebrating clawing back a majority from the Labour Party at the local elections just two weeks ago.

Mr St Clair-Haslam’s decision to leave brings them back to even again with 22 councillors each.

The rest of the seats are held by two independents, one BNP, and councillor Cheale who at the moment is described as “non-aligned”

Neither Mr St. Clair-Haslam or Mr Hague were available for comment.

Thurrock Council is holding a full council meeting tonight.