Independent group leader ‘inclined’ to back Rainbow Coalition to take control of Cambridgeshire County Council

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The prospect of a rainbow coalition taking control of Cambridgeshire County Council increased after the leader of the independent group said he was “inclined” to back a power-sharing deal with the Liberal Democrats and Labor.

The Conservative group lost three seats before retaining its majority in the county council in the May 6 elections.

Independent group leader Tom Sanderson (47022535)

Discussions are now taking place between the parties on board control.

With 28 out of 61 seats, the Tories remain the largest party, but the Liberal Democrats now have 20, Labor nine and there are four independents.

The council is run by a committee system and will elect a leader on May 18.

The election result, announced Friday, May 7, means that no party has overall control of the council. be determined by those who can enlist the support of other parties.

Liberal Democrat leader Lucy Nethsingha told the Cambridge Independent on Friday that she hoped for a deal.

Two independent advisers and two for the independent St Neots group were elected – and they could have influence in helping to create a majority of over 31 seats for a party coalition.

Independent group leader Tom Sanderson, who was re-elected to represent Huntingdon West, said: More details in due course.

“I think we only have a few days to really sort everything out.

“But I think we are inclined to follow the Liberal Democrats and the Labor Group, assuming they can come to an agreement. I think it’s fair to say that the Conservatives have lost control of the county council and I don’t think we would be inclined to change that at all.

Cllr Sanderson said he had had tentative talks with leaders of the Labor and Liberal groups, but did not speak with Conservative group leader Steve Count on Monday morning.

“I think we are more inclined to consider a new administration in the county council, but I will speak to Steve if he wishes,” he said.

Lib Dem group leader Cllr Lucy Nethsingha talks to Labor group leader Elisa Meschini.  Photo: Keith Heppell
Lib Dem group leader Cllr Lucy Nethsingha talks to Labor group leader Elisa Meschini. Photo: Keith Heppell

Meanwhile, Cllr Nethsingha said: “We have very constructive conversations with the Labor Group and the Independent Group, and those conversations continue.

“As the leader of the largest group within this alliance, I hope and expect that I will become the leader of the council then. But these conversations are ongoing, but progressing well. “

Labor group leader Elisa Meschini said: “The Labor Party is working across party lines to reach a deal. Discussions are ongoing and all options remain on the table for now. “

Four of the Liberal Democrats’ gains in southern Cambridgeshire – Cottenham and Willingham, Duxford, Hardwick and Longstanton, Northstowe and more – were in seats where Labor had not fielded candidates.

But neither Cllr Meschini nor Cllr Nethsingha wanted to explain why Labor did not show up for these seats and whether or not there was a pre-election agreement between the parties.

When asked about keeping his post as head of the council on Friday, Cllr Count said: “Between parties they may want a different leader, they may want the same. It’s really about starting to have conversations and seeing what people want to do over the next four years and seeing where we have consensus or can get consensus, and seeing what unites us rather than what unites us. that divides us. “

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