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LibDems hold key over power talks at Pendle Council
MEETINGS today could decide the future leadership of Pendle Council.
The Conservatives and Labour groups both have 18 councillors after the elections last week, and one of them will almost certainly need to form a coalition with the LibDems, who have 12 seats.
Coun John David, who leads the local Lib Dems, said they would not shirk a decision on which side to back for the council leadership.
The Labour leader, Coun Mohammed Iqbal, said his group felt they had been given a “mandate” to lead the borough after polling more votes, and were keen to speak to the LibDems, while Conservative leader Coun Joe Cooney said his group was keeping an “open mind” before the talks.
Coun David said: “We believe all three parties should now join the powerful council executive for the next year.
“I doubt if any of the parties wanted this particular result, but this is now a time for the parties to work together in the interests of Pendle.”
After a special group meeting on Sunday, the Lib Dems have appointed three members to hold discussions with the other two groups – Coun David, Coun David Whipp and Coun Tony Greaves – prior to making a decision about who to support for council leader.
Coun Cooney said: “We will meet with the other groups, the Lib Dems and Labour, and start negotiations with them for a way forward.
“We have a fairly open mind. It is most important we get what is right for Pendle. We will have to put our differences aside.”
Coun Iqbal said: “We are ready to lead this council and believe we have a mandate. We have a meeting with the Lib Dems today and we hope they will support a Labour council.
“If they do choose to form a council based on their national bedfellows in the coalition, we will scrutinise every decision they make.”
The Lib Dem team of three will report back to the full group at another meeting on Sunday, and a decision will need to be made by the council’s annual meeting on May 17.