IT’S as you were at Blackburn with Darwen Council, after 10 days of infighting, rumours of secret power deals and a £3,500 emergency meeting.

Tonight’s special council meeting had been called after the For Darwen Party announced it was withdrawing from the ruling coalition last week because of a row over the proposed Darwen town council.

Despite the angry backlash from the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats that followed the decision, the three parties have set aside their differences and resumed their partnership in control of the council.

The only change to the set-up was the appointment of For Darwen leader Tony Melia as deputy council leader, seen as compensation for conceding his party’s position on next month’s town council referendum.

Tonight Labour councillors, who could have seized power if a partnership with For Darwen had been agreed, rounded on the coalition, repeating some of the quotes made by councillors following For Darwen’s defection.

Regeneration spokesman Andy Kay said: “One man’s ego has led to this meeting.”

Shadow resources member Dave Harling produced a yo-yo which he said represented the changing positions of the ruling coalition in recent days.

But Tory Brian Gordon interrupted to evoke memories of 2004, when a walkout by six Labour councillors left their party in turmoil.

And Lib Dem leader David Foster said: “Labour arrogantly assumes it has the monopoly on knowing what people of this borough want.

“I did say we would find it difficult to work together again, and things are difficult in politics. But I didn’t say it was impossible.

“I am not doing this because I want to be in a position of power and authority.”

Coun Melia claimed Labour had also offered him the position of deputy leader in exchange for For Darwen’s co-operation.

After Labour leader Kate Hollern tried unsuccessfully to force a motion of no confidence in the council, a final vote was taken and the Conservative, Lib Dem and For Darwen coalition was installed back into power.

The £3,500 bill is for staging the meeting and covers heating, lighting, staffing costs, food and other admin costs.