TENDRING’S Labour councillors have said they will not work with new Tory group leader Neil Stock.

Labour has been left with just four seats on Tendring Council after a surge in support for Ukip at Thursday’s local elections.

The Conservative group has lost overall control after its number of councillors was cut from 31 to 23, while Ukip picked up 22 of the council’s 60 seats.

The balance of power on the council now rests in the hands of the council’s group of six independent councillors, who will meet on Friday to discuss any offers put to it by either side.

But the Labour group said it will not enter into any discussions with either Ukip or the Conservatives over who should run the council.

The Conservatives appointed Neil Stock as their group leader on Saturday after council leader Mick Page lost his seat at the election.

Labour leader Ivan Henderson said: “It is clear the political make up of Tendring Council means the addition of Labour’s four votes would make life easier for any coalition, but we are fundamentally opposed to many of the policies introduced by the local Conservatives and, along with the Lib Dems, Independents and Tendring First, have fought for more fairness over the last four years.

“It is unthinkable we could now adopt such policies."

Mr Henderson added the Labour group will also be voting against the appointment of Mr Stock, who was previously council leader from 2009 to 2012, when the new council meets on May 26.

He said: “So many opportunities were missed during Mr Stock’s time as leader of Tendring Council and we saw other districts take full advantage and prosper.

“Many of his own Tory colleagues shared the combined frustration of the opposition during this time and it is frightening to think that those days may be about to return.”

The council’s independent group is now expected to meet with both the Conservatives and Ukip, which will appoint its own leader tomorrow, before deciding if it would support either side.

Independent Michael Talbot said he would not rule out working in a Conservative-led coalition.

Mr Stock said: “The people of Tendring will expect us to put aside political differences to try to get together a solid administration that is competent to run the council and keep its excellent reputation going.

“Labour’s comments are disappointingly personal and are not helpful or constructive.

“I wouldn’t expect them to work with us as a coalition.”