TALKS are continuing to determine the political control of Blackburn with Darwen council.

Last week’s local elections left Labour on 31 seats, two off an overall majority, having gained three on their rivals.

But they can still be kept out by the coalition of Conservative, Lib Dem and For Darwen councillors, which has a total of 33.

This week Labour group leader Kate Hollern emailed all 64 councillors claiming: “Voters have sent a clear message giving Labour a mandate to run the council.”

She said her party would try in the coming days to form an administration to run the council, adding she was “prepared to talk to others”.

But her claims were rejected by Tory council leader Michael Lee, who said: “I have learned to take what Kate says with a pinch of salt.

“The talks seem to be going OK, and I am hopeful we will keep control. We will know more by the end of the week.”