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The former leader of Basildon Council, Gavin Callaghan has stepped down as a councillor with immediate effect.
Although he retained his Pitsea North West seat in the recent local elections, a disastrous night for Labour saw them lose control of the council to the Conservatives.
This brought into doubt a number of plans for the regeneration of Basildon town centre with the Tories opening a new public consultation.
The Pitsea North West ward will now face another election to vote in a successor.
In a statement posted on his Twitter account, Mr Callaghan said: “I want to say a huge thank you to the people of Pitsea North West for the honour of being elected three times and for serving you the past decade.
Today I informed the chief executive that I’m stepping down from the council with immediate effect. I want to spend more time with my family and pursue other interests at home and abroad which will mean I can no longer give the council and my constituents my undivided energy and attention.
I’m proud of my time as a councillor. I won my seat three times, taking it off a Conservative and was never beaten by a Tory or UKIP, I led the Basildon Labour Group for six years out of the darkness and I led the council for a third of my time in office, including being elected the youngest council leader in the UK in 2017 aged 28.
I hope my successor is Labour and I wish them every happiness in representing the best seat on the council.
Keep in touch and keep believing in Basildon. I know I will.”