A COALITION has vowed to continue in its role for Burnley after political in-fighting, resignation and suspensions saw the council executive on the brink of collapse.

The executive board on Burnley Council, run by a coalition of the Burnley and Padiham Independent Party, Liberal Democrats and Conservatives, saw two Tory Party members ousted from their positions on the board this month.

Two Lib Dems threatened to resign after council leader Cllr Charlie Briggs’ invited new Tory leader, Cllr Alan Hosker, and Tory Cllr Andrew Newhouse to join the executive as replacements for Cllrs Cosima Towneley and Ivor Emo.

But now Cllr Hosker is unhappy after Cllr Briggs is said to have made a u-turn and said he was not prepared to replace Cllrs Emo or Towneley with Cllr Hosker.

This has now left the coalition without a Tory representative on the executive board, forcing leaders to appoint Independent, Mark Payne as a replacement, with one other space now open to applications.

Cllr Gordon Birtwistle, Lib Dem leader and colleague Cllr Margaret Lishman said they made it clear to Cllr Briggs that they would resign should Cllr Hosker be allowed to sit on the board.

In a joint statement, they said: “We have repeatedly made clear to the leader, Cllr Briggs, that we would resign as executive members if he accepted the demand of the new Conservative leader, Cllr Alan Hosker, to replace the two Conservative members of the executive with himself and another member of that group.”

The pair insisted Cllr Hosker was not “a proper person for a leading role representing our town and managing services for our citizens”.

In August, Cllrs Emo and Towneley, who each sat on the council’s executive board, were suspended from the Tory Party.

Since then, Cllr Towneley has resigned her position with Cllr Emo expected to follow suit. Their resignations came shortly after Cllr Hosker took over as Tory party leader.

Cllr Hosker said: “We’ve been told they don’t want me or Cllr Newhouse on the exec board because they don’t like us. We are supposed to be members of a coalition. I said to Cllr Birtwistle when we came into this coalition we were coming in as a partnership.

“We’ve removed two Conservatives so it’s only right we replace them with two Conservatives. I’m very disappointed Cllrs Birtwistle and Lishman refuse to accept me on the board but it should be Cllr Briggs’ decision. It seems like Cllr Birtwistle is pulling all the strings here.”