COALITION: ‘WE WANT BEST FOR BROXTOWE’

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LABOUR will form a coalition with the Liberal Democrats to run Broxtowe Borough Council, the Advertiser can reveal.

With nobody winning a clear majority in the elections last week, parties were left scrambling for power with the Lib Dems eventually deciding to team up with Labour after days of behind-closed-door meetings.

The previous administration was also a Lib Dem and Labour coalition, but this time around Labour will take control.

New leader of the council, Labour councillor Milan Radulovic, said it meant there would be ‘interesting times ahead’ but he was hopeful the two parties could form an administration ‘with the best interests for Broxtowe residents’.

The leaders of the three major parties have been in meetings every day since the election results were returned last Friday, but Cllr Radulovic was keeping quiet over the exact deal Labour and the Lib Dems had struck, saying the fine detail of the agreement was still being discussed.

“It’s in everybodies interests to have a clear leadership, but a number of decisions have to be made.

“They (the Lib Dems) have agreed to support the Labour administration subject to a number of issues being clarified between us which we cannot say at this stage,” he said.

“Some of them relate to the business of the council and how we manage some of the major developments heading our way, so it would be unfair to say anything publicly at the moment.”

Deputy Lib Dem leader Stan Heptinstall said things would be much the same as the last four years, despite the Lib Dems no longer being the major party.

“The situation will not be that different to how it was,” he said. “They (Labour) have said to us they will treat us fairly, as we did them.”

Cllr Heptinstall said the Liberal Democrats did meet with the Tories and ‘seriously considered’ an alliance with them, but eventually decided their ideas for Broxtowe and the council were ‘best aligned with Labour’.

He said part of the reason was because the two parties have worked together for eight years and they share views over the tram, while calling the Tories ‘obstructive’ over the matter.

But as the third term of a Labour/Lib Dem coalition begins, Tory leader Richard Jackson accused the Lib Dems of ‘losing their identity’.

“This will be the third time they have gone into coalition with Labour. They look to be losing their identity in Broxtowe,” he said.

Cllr Jackson said he had meetings with the Lib Dems following the election, but it was ‘clear where they were coming from politically’ and they were ‘closer’ to Labour than the Tories.

It was a good day for Labour as they increased their seats from ten to 17, while the Lib Dems saw their 14 seats drop down to just nine.

The Tories kept hold of 18 seats – the same number they had previously.