OPPOSITION councillors have banded together to form a shadow cabinet to take on the Tory-led administration at Tendring Council.

The authority was left in no overall control following the district council election on May 2, but the 16-strong Conservative group clung on to power after forming a coalition with Ukip’s five councillors, the three Holland-on-Sea and Eastcliff Matters councillors and independent St Osyth councillors Michael Talbot and John White.

Re-elected council and Conservative group leader Neil Stock appointed his cabinet last week.

Tendring First’s Terry Allen narrowly lost the vote to become the new council leader to Mr Stock by 26 votes to 21.

The five opposition groups, including Labour, Tendring Independents, Independents, Tendring First and the Liberal Democrats, said they were “disappointed” that they are not forming the administration.

But they now intend to work together under the leadership of Mr Allen, with Labour councillor Ivan Henderson in the role of deputy leader, in a bid to hold the administration to account.

Mr Allen said: “While trying to put together our own coalition administration it became clear how much can be achieved within Tendring and how many opportunities to improve things for our residents are not being taken advantage of.

“We have an excellent officer team at Tendring Council and we believe these failures result from a lack of political direction and leadership.”

He said the opposition groups have decided to create a shadow cabinet to monitor the work of the administration’s portfolio holders and to ensure that “the failure to deliver on achievable improvements does not continue for yet another four years”.

“We have a lot of talent sitting on the opposition benches and it is a great pity that this talent could not be active by forming the administration,” he added.

“However, we can use our ideas and energy to ensure that those with the responsibility for delivering do just that and we believe that a shadow cabinet offers the best way of holding them to account.”

Mr Allen said work will now begin to put together the shadow cabinet, which will include representatives from each of the five opposition groups.

He added that the shadow cabinet will not receive any additional allowances for its work.

Mr Henderson, deputy leader of the opposition groups, said: “As we talked to our colleagues in the various groups it became clear that the same issues are affecting all of the communities across Tendring and discussions with officers revealed that many of these issues can be addressed.

“Having a shadow cabinet will keep the spotlight on the administration’s portfolio holders who are responsible for delivering on behalf of our residents.”

Mr Stock said he welcomed the move, having been part of an shadow Conservative cabinet in 2007.

“I welcome councillors working together for the benefit of Tendring,” he said.

“If they want to be a constructive force that benefits the district, then I’m all for it.”