The Independent group leader of Burnley Council, Cllr Afraisiab Anwar, hopes the three-party Co-operative Alliance which ran the authority before last week's local elections will stay in charge.

This week his group of ex-Labour Gaza rebels is meeting the Liberal Democrats and Green Party to discuss continuing the arrangement.

Thursday's poll left them one short of a majority, on 22 councillors, and if they stay in power they will have to rely on the casting vote of Independent Mayor Cllr Shah Hussain.

Cllr Anwar, who with fellow councillors quit Labour due to the party's stance over the war between Israel and Hamas, said: "The former coalition is meeting this week to discuss the way forward with the intent of continuing for a further two years.

"Our priority is to provide stability of governance and a balanced strategic plan for the borough, to allow us to deliver for our residents."

The Labour group, from which Cllr Anwar and nine other councillors resigned in November, gained four seats in the election giving it 15 overall, making it the largest party by five.

Its leader, Cllr Mark Townsend, said: "If confirmed it’s disappointing the Independents, Greens and Lib Dems have decided to ignore the voters and continue with an administration that does not have democratic legitimacy.

Lancashire Telegraph: Labour's Cllr Mark Townsend said the ruling coalition has no mandateLabour's Cllr Mark Townsend said the ruling coalition has no mandate

"The electorate has spoken and voted the coalition out.

"The numbers tell us the only means of establishing a stable administration for the good of the town going forward is with the involvement of Labour.

"Cllr Anwar has lost his mandate to be leading the council."

The Green group has chosen the authority's health and culture boss Cllr Jack Launer as its new leader, after his predecessor and former Cliviger with Worsthorne Councillor Scott Cunliffe lost his seat to Conservative Ivor Emo.

The political make-up of the council is now: Labour – 15; Burnley Independent Group – 10; Conservatives – eight; Liberal Democrats – seven; and Greens – five.