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Coalition looms as Tories suffer losses

Solihull Council could be going the same way as Westminster with two of the three main parties forming a coalition

Solihull Council
Solihull Council

Solihull Council could be going the same way as Westminster with two of the three main parties forming a coalition.

Following last Friday’s local elections - where the Conservatives lost seats and Labour and the Lib Dems made gains - the three parties are in talks about the possibility of becoming political bedfellows.

The Solihull News understands that it is likely the Lib Dems and Labour will form a partnership and take control of the council away from the Conservatives.

The arrangement could be in place by this weekend.

Councillor Bob Sleigh (Con), who is deputising in the absence of Leader of Council Ken Meeson, said his party made an offer to the Lib Dems after the local election count - but they are now in talks with Labour.

“We are disappointed that the Lib Dems, being the second largest party after ourselves, have not had exploratory discussions with us first.

“But we want them to know that the door is still open,” he said.

Friday’s results saw Labour gain a seat from the Conservatives in Kingshurst and Fordbridge, and in Chelmsley Wood they uprooted the only BNP councillor.

But the biggest shock of the day occurred in Elmdon where cabinet member Ken Hawkins (Con) was defeated by the Lib Dem’s Martin Hewings - by just 128 votes.

The Conservatives were hoping to gain extra seats and reclaim an overall majority but their failure to do so means there is still no overall control at Solihull Council.

Ian Hedley, leader of the Liberal Democrats, confirmed that his party was in talks with Labour about creating a coalition.

“But it takes time to see whether we have agreements about policy and can work together,” he admitted.

Elsewhere, Lib Dem leader Ian Hedley held onto his seat in Shirley East while Conservative cabinet members Ian Courts and Diana Holl-Allen held onto theirs.

And Trevor Eames - the former councillor who served four-and-a-half years for setting fire to his wife in 1997 - failed in his bid to take the Shirley South seat, which was won by Andy Hodgson (Lib Dem).

*For more in-depth coverage from the local elections, including the full results, visit www.solihullnews.net.

 

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