The Conservatives are set to keep control of East Sussex County Council – but they will need the support of other parties.

Thanks to the rise of the UK Independence Party (UKIP) at last week’s local elections, the Tories lost overall control of the local authority.

But, as they remain the largest group on the council, the Tories have told The Argus they plan to go it alone in running the town hall for the next four years.

The cabinet system means the party would be able to make about 90% of decisions on the local authority, on issues such schools and transport.

However, the Tories will need to support of other parties if they are to push through their budget as this is discussed by all councillors.

Conservative group leader Keith Glazier said the decision to form a minority administration had been taken after a number of conversations with other parties in recent days.

Coun Glazier said: “We’re the largest party on East Sussex and we owe it to the people that voted for us to form an administration.

“When I joined the council in 1997 we formed a minority administration. It can be done.

“I’m confident we can do the best for the people of East Sussex.”

Despite losing nine seats compared to 2009, the election saw the Tories remain the largest party with 20 councillors out of 49.

The Liberal Democrats have 10 councillors, Labour and UKIP seven each while there are five independents. A proposal to form a minority administration will be presented at the meeting of the full council on May 23.

Philip Howson, the newly elected leader of the UKIP group, said: “It’s a minority council but we will support them as much as possible as long as it’s in the best interests of the people of Sussex.

“There was absolutely never any talk of a coalition.

"The message from head office is ‘no deals’.”

Labour councillor Jeremy Birch said: “It’s not unusual to have minority administrations.

“As a smaller party we will challenge them on austerity and cuts, particularly those which will affect deprived communities across East Sussex.”