The Liberal Democrats will now decide who runs a politically divided borough after the Conservatives lost power in last week's local elections.

They took two seats from the Tories and Labour one to leave Pendle Council with no party in overall control.

Lib Dem leader Cllr David Whipp is now in talks with the other party leaders over who his group will support at the authority's annual meeting on Thursday, May 18.

Before the May 4 poll the Conservatives had 17 of the 33 councillors and a slim majority of one in Pendle

But after the Lib Dems took Earby and Coates and Barnoldswick wards from the Tories and Labour seized Marsden and Southfield ward, it's left the Tories short of a majority.

This left the balance of power as Conservatives with 14, Labour 11, Lib Dems seven with former Labour group leader Cllr Mohammed Iqbal - currently suspended from the party - sitting as an Independent.

In recent years the Lib Dems have supported both parties to control the council when inconclusive results have left it 'hung'.

Cllr Whipp said: "The Liberal Democrat group is still in discussion with both Labour and the Conservatives on our programme for Pendle.

"Conversations are cordial and I'm confident that working arrangements will be in place by next week's annual meeting.

"There's no white smoke as yet though!"

Leader of the Labour group, Cllr Asjad Mahmood, said: “The message from voters is that they rejected the Tories in huge numbers because they are out of touch with people.

"They had plans to close our leisure centres and I give a commitment this will not happen on my watch.

"The government need to fund public services not hike up council tax and demand further cuts to services from councillors.

"The council is now hung and I will be talking to the Liberal Democrat group to see how we can work to form an administration to repair the damage caused by the Tories locally and nationally."

Conservative group leader Cllr Nadeem Ahmed said: "Obviously the results in Pendle where we lost three seats were disappointing.

"We lost three really good councillors, but we remain the largest party on Pendle Council.

"Who knows what happens next? There will be discussions between the groups and an arrangement needs to be made.

"I am hopeful that we can conclude a deal with the Liberal Democrats because we have started some really good work in Pendle including the Nelson Town Deal, the Levelling Up funding for Colne, the purchasing of the new cemetery site at Halifax Road in Nelson and protecting the Gib Hill site."