RADICAL changes have taken place at the local Labour Party after a left-leaning faction seized half the seats and a woman took control of the group for the first time.

Following its own meeting on Friday, the grass-roots group Momentum Epping Forest showed up in full force for Epping Forest Labour Party's annual general meeting.

Several of the party's key voting positions were up for grabs and were won by members of the Jeremy Corbyn backing Momentum faction who outnumbered the long term members.

Come the May local elections and next general election, the newly elected treasurer Alex Lambrianos, vice-chair of membership Ben Ross and women's officer Kay Morrison will help chose the party's candidates.

Thomas Mitchell, a 21 year-old Momentum organiser and Russian language student, said: "The balance of power is turning towards us for the first time.

"Even with the 50/50 voting block, it is inconceivable that the next candidate will not be the most left wing candidate that Epping Forest has ever put up.

"We didn't cause any divisions though. We are all getting along. A team together for the first time. We will help to put their feet to the fire."

Another big change was the election of Angela Ayre as leader, the first woman to hold the position in Epping Labour's history.

Mitch Diamond-Conway, party secretary, said: "Angela is a Labour Party member of 40 years and has worked in the civil service for many years.

"With our outgoing chair Simon Bullugh standing down after six years, we elected our first female chair which is a huge step forward and an indication the party is for the many."

Mr Diamond-Conway also struck a conciliatory note when it came to the party's new voting members.

He added: "All the people there desperately want a Labour government against the backdrop of cruel, regressive Tory leadership.

"Everyone at the meeting thought it was great that more young people were getting involved.

"We are aware that historically we have not performed spectacularly in Epping, but we are buoyant and have a much better ground force than we have had before.

"We are most definitely going to take the fight to the Conservative Party and the Loughton Residents Association."

To find our more and get involved, call Mitch on 07939 316199 or email eppingforestlabour@outlook.com