UKIP say they have their eyes on a deal with Southend’s Independents next year to take power in a joint administration.

The Eurosceptic party, which until May had no representation on Southend Council, is now looking to take power in a year’s time.

The party, led by James Moyies, secured five seats at the May local elections, with the group making huge advances across all of south Essex.

The Tories lost power, with an Independent, Lib Dem, and Labour coalition now in control of the borough.

Mr Moyies, who was elected in West Shoebury, said: “I think it would be feasible for us, if we make enough gains, to go into a joint power with the Independents, because it will mean an administration that isn’t held back by party considerations.

“I look forward to making more gains next year and, with the seats we are targeting, I would expect us to become a large group on the council.”

Mr Moyies revealed there were early discussions about joining the rainbowadministration, but this was quashed by Labour and the Lib Dems.

He hopes his party could raise their standing to around eight or nine seats in next year’s election, and then be in a position to do business with the Independents – but did not say which seats Ukip has got their eyes on. Ukip has supported some of the Independent’s early policies – including a review into the closure of care homes and the Shoebury seawall project, but these were in the anti EU party’s manifesto.

Mr Moyies added: “They are policies that were in our manifesto and if us being elected ensures those reviews are done, then I think we could say it was the right decision for people to vote for us.

Martin Terry, spokesman for the Independent party on Southend Council, said: “I think in the coming months people will find out that Ukip are not the two-headed monster some people make out.

“I’m not going to rule anything in, and I’m not going to rule anything out.”