Coalition to run Burnley

IN CHARGE: Liberal Democrats leader Gordon Birtwistle

IN CHARGE: Liberal Democrats leader Gordon Birtwistle

First published in by

THE Liberal Democrats and Conservatives have taken charge of Burnley Council in a coalition as Labour lost control of the borough for the first time ever.

Councillors thrashed out the historic coalition deal last night following Labour's disastrous performance in last week's elections.

Following the talks, Liberal Democrat leader Coun Gordon Birtwistle emerged as the council leader.

The agreement will also see a six-member executive made up of five Liberal Democrat councillors and one Conservative.

Labour lost five seats in last week's election, with council leader Stuart Caddy and his right-hand man Peter Kenyon among the casualties.

Meanwhile, the Liberal Democrat's gained five seats, taking them level with Labour on 16 seats.

The Conservatives gained one seat to a total of five, giving them and the Liberal Democrats a majority over Labour with the coalition.

A council spokesman said: "Following discussions between the leaders of the political groups represented on Burnley Council a proposal has emerged for a joint Liberal Democrat/ Conservative administration.

"At its meeting on the May 18 the council will be asked to agree that Coun Gordon Birtwistle should be appointed leader with an executive of five other members."

The outcome means there will be no repeat of the farce from two years ago when Burnley council was left in limbo for five weeks with no leader or executive when Labour and the Lib Dems failed to agree on power sharing.

The members of the executive include Coun Charlie Bullas as deputy leader and member for the environment, Coun Martin Smith as member for regeneration and Conservative leader Coun Peter Doyle as member for resources.

Coun Roger Frost will be Member for leisure and culture and Coun Margaret Lishman, member for customer access and community engagement.

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