Conservatives set to keep control of Peterborough City Council as opposition coalition is ruled out

The Conservatives look set to keep control of Peterborough City Council after an opposition coalition was ruled out.

Tuesday, 7th May 2019, 11:28 am
Updated Tuesday, 7th May 2019, 11:28 am
Chris Burbage (left) defeated Stuart Martin

The Tories lost their majority after last Thursday’s local elections, falling from 31 to 28 seats - three short of a majority.

However, the leader of the Werrington First group of independents Cllr Steve Lane has ruled out joining a coalition with the Labour Party, Liberal Democrats and Green Party which would end the Conservative’s rule for the first time in nearly two decades.

Instead he has indicated that the group is likely to support Conservative John Holdich in remaining as council leader, but will decide whether to support policies on a case-by-case basis.

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Chris Burbage (left) defeated Stuart Martin

Voting on who will be leader of the council for the forthcoming year normally takes place at the Annual Council meeting, which this year is scheduled for Monday, May 20.

Cllr Lane said: “We won’t support any form of opposition coalition which will have different agendas.

“If John Holdich is going forward as leader I’m sure we will support him in that role.

“But as a group we wish to remain independent and treat every decision on its merits.”

Thursday’s results saw Labour, the biggest opposition group, gain three seats (two of which it had previously held before the sitting councillors resigned), while the Lib Dems gained two.

The Green Party doubled its number of councillors to two after taking a second seat in Orton Waterville, while UKIP lost its last remaining councillor.

Labour group leader Cllr Shaz Nawaz said: “I had a conversation with John Holdich, Nick Sandford (Lib Dem group leader) and Steve Lane.

“John aims to form a minority administration and Steve said Werrington First is supporting that.

“Overall we bucked the national trend for Labour, and if we or the Lib Dems had one more councillor that would have made it interesting. It’s positive that our message is getting through.

“In 12 months’ time we might have a very different scenario.”