The Conservatives look set to take control of Hyndburn Borough Council after last week's local elections left them and Labour on 16 seats each - both two short of a majority.

The group's leader Cllr Marlene Haworth said a deal had been struck with the two Labour-turned-Green Party councillors and the remaining independent Cllr Joyce Plummer for her to become leader of the borough authority.

The eyebrow-raising agreement has seen the left-wing Green Party give its backing to the right-wing Tories, rather than siding with the similarly politically-aligned Labour group.

However, the Green Party has now said formal pact has not been formed, but it's councillors have agreed to informally work with Conservatives "on matters to benefit Hyndburn and its residents".

It follows Thursday's borough poll, which saw Labour make three gains in wards formerly held by Independents - including ousting ex-member and former leader Miles Parkinson - but lose a key seat to the Tories, leaving the two main parties tied on 16 councillors.

This left the decision on who takes power over the council in the hands of the two Green representatives, Cllr Paddy Short and Cllr Caroline Montague, and ex-Labour councillor turned Independent Cllr Plummer.

Cllrs Short and Montague were Labour councillors but quit the party 12 months ago, defecting to the Green Party, and opting not to resign despite no longer being members of the party they were elected to represent.

Now Cllr Haworth has claimed the three have agreed to back her and the Conservatives to take control at the annual meeting on Thursday, May 18.

She had been deputy leader of a partnership administration led by Miles Parkinson since May last year after he quit Labour in March but refused to step down from his role as leader of the council.

Cllr Haworth said: "I am absolutely delighted to say we have spoken to the two Green Party councillors and the Independent councillor Joyce Plummer, who are happy to support me as the new leader of the council, which will be ratified by the annual meeting on May 18.

"I think they were happy with the policies that we want to put forward in our manifesto.

"I am really thrilled. We want to do what we have been doing for the last 12 months but do it better.

"I believe this agreement will bring stability to the council and the borough.

"I am hopeful all parties can work together for the benefit of the people of Hyndburn."

Cllr Plummer, who was suspended by Labour after joining Mr Parkinson's 'rainbow cabinet' last summer, is due to become Hyndburn's deputy Mayor for 2023/24 and Mayor in 2024/2025.

Cllr Short has also agreed to be chair of the scrutiny committee which oversees the resources of the council as part of the deal, while Cllr Montague will remain as the borough's Green Ambassador.

Cllr Plummer said: "I spoke to both group leaders. For personal reasons I will support Cllr Haworth for leader of the council."

Green group leader Cllr Short was not immediately available for comment, but he said on Saturday: "The Green Party in Hyndburn note the result of the recent local elections that have resulted in No Overall Control of Hyndburn Council.

"We are at present in talks with both the local Labour and Conservatives to explore common ground.

"Once these talks are complete we will consult our local Green Party Members and make an announcement in due course."

Labour group leader in the borough Cllr Munsif Dad was also not immediately available for comment.