Gloucestershire County Council Elections: Coalition crunch talks
Political parties across Gloucestershire are set to meet this weekend to try and figure out how they can turn a chaotic, and fascinating, election into a workable coalition administration.
No one party won enough seats at Thursday’s elections to gain overall control of the county council.
And as a result any majority will have to be formed through alliances.
But making the numbers work will be giving party leaders severe headaches this weekend as there are no apparent easy solutions to reaching the magic majority number of 27 seats.
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As a result the immediate future of the council is now incredibly murky.
Deals will have to be made and some election promises likely broken for a coalition administration to form in the next two weeks ahead of the first scheduled meeting of the council on May 15.
All of the major parties have said they will meet this weekend to discuss who they might be willing to work with to take power.
Jeremy Hilton, leader of the Liberal Democrats, said: “The situation is we have put a lot of work into developing our manifesto and quite clearly that will set the ground rules for any discussions. We will want to implement as many of our policies as possible.
“It is premature to do anything other than that at this time. I am not ruling anything out. I am not ruling anything in.”
Lesley Williams, the leader of the Labour group said “at this stage it is too soon to assume anything”.
Meanwhile, Jenny Knight, UKIP county chairwoman, said her party had “not ruled anything out”.
Finally, Mark Hawthorne, the leader of the Conservative group, believes a coalition is achievable.
He said: “I don’t want to pre-empt any discussions that will take place over the next few days. Everyone voted in needs time to digest the result and sit down discuss what we want to do over the next four years.
“There needs to be a coalition that will make tough decisions and serve the people.
He added: “I’m fairly convinced a coalition will emerge.”