A TORY councillor has resigned from his party, meaning the Conservatives have lost the overall majority in Southend.

Jason Luty, who was a Conservative councillor for Eastwood Park, resigned from the party in order to stand as an independent candidate in Westborough.

Southend Council’s website lists Mr Luty as belonging to no political party.

Following the death of Milton councillor Ann Robertson last week, this leaves the Conservatives with 25 councillors against 25 from other groups.

This means if a situation arises where votes are tied, Lib Dem mayor Brian Smith will be called on to vote.

However, there is an agreement in place which means the mayor is required to vote with the administration, the Conservatives.

Mr Luty said: “I have resigned from the Conservative party and I will resign from the seat in the elections in May.

“We are so close to the elections, so I haven’t resigned just yet, because I don’t want to waste money on a by-election.”

Tories have held the majority on Southend Council since 2001 and council leader Nigel Holdcroft said: “I think it was expected, bearing in mind some of the leaflets Mr Luty had sent out.

“He will now sit as a truly independent member of the council, without any form of association at all.

“It is frustrating from my point of view because I lose a member of the group, but I am anticipating he will support the main policies.”