NEW Southend Council leader Nigel Holdcroft will be shaking up the cabinet as one of his first actions.

At a meeting last night, Mr Holdcroft was selected as the new man in the top job after former leader Murray Foster lost his Prittlewell seat to Ric Morgan in Thursday's local elections.

The result had meant the ousting of the second council leader in two years, throwing the local Tories into crisis.

The Conservative group held the private meeting to appoint a new leader, but Mr Holdcroft was the only person to put himself forward for the position. Former leader Anna Waite decided not to stand.

Mr Holdcroft said: "It's a very difficult situation. Up until Thursday, I assumed Murray Foster was going to continue as leader.

"He was a very effective leader, but we all have our own personal approach to things.

"I am a partner in a firm of solicitors in Southend and I think I know what residents and businesses want. I will be looking to work with them to get results."

Mr Holdcroft said one of the first things he would do as leader was to introduce new people into the cabinet and change portfolios around.

He said: "There will be a slight restructuring of portfolios.

"I want them to mirror the new senior management structure that has been put in place at the council.

"There will be some new faces in the cabinet."

He officially takes over as leader tomorrow.

Mr Holdcroft said he also wanted to build on the success of existing regeneration efforts.

He said: "We are looking to make further investments in the town.

"Marks and Spencer is having a major refurbishment and Victoria Plaza is being refurbished.

"They are signals that major retailers are prepared to put money in the town and have faith in it."