The Brexit Party takes control of its first council in Hartlepool

The Brexit Party has taken over the running of its first council in the north-east of England.

Hartlepool Borough Council said nine independent councillors had formed a pact with the Brexit Party on Thursday night.

The party itself later announced that it had formed a pact with three Conservatives, in a move which it said "put country before party".

The new group will replace the Independent Union and Conservative Group which had previously been running the council.

The Brexit Party-Conservative coalition now has 13 councillors on the 32-seat council, compared with Labour's 10.

News of the takeover is seen as a significant blow to Labour, which considers the north-east a safe area.

HARTLEPOOL, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 04:  Locals spend time on the beach near the docks in the Headland area of Hartlepool,on September 4, 2017 in Hartlepool, England. Hartlepool in the North East of England is one of the many coastal towns lagging behind inland areas with some of the worst levels of economic and social deprivation in the country. The Social Market Foundation (SMF) found that 85% of Great Britain's 98 coastal local authorities had pay levels below the national average for 2016. The government has announced that it will give 40 million GBP to encourage tourism and boost employment in the areas.  (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)Labour lost overall control of the council in May, with the council's former leader blaming "a divided party".

Divisions have emerged since the EU referendum in 2016 when 70 per cent of the Hartlepool electorate voted Leave.

Party chairman Richard Tice told the BBC: "Regardless of the shenanigans in Westminster, Brexiteers in the North East are pushing to take back control so they can respect the Brexit vote."

"Hartlepool has long been a target for UKIP and now the Brexit Party in Westminster elections.

"With 12 councillors the Brexit Party and Conservative coalition would be the biggest group in the 33 seat Hartlepool council."

Hartlepool becomes the first council under the control of the Brexit party in the north-east of England, where Nigel Farage is fighting hard to make inroads.

- This article first appeared on Yahoo

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