Thursday, May 22, 2008

Lib Dems take control of Derby

After a near three-week hiatus following the local elections, the Lib Dems last night took control of Derby City Council, my old stamping-ground during my days as a local government reporter in the late 1980s.

With 18 seats to Labour's 17, the Tories' 14 and two independents, the Lib Dems' hold on power is precarious, and although the other two parties rejected new leader Hilary Jones' offer of a grand coalition, there will clearly have to be very close co-operation between the parties if anything is to get done.

Furthermore, there is a potential sting in the tail for Ms Jones' new minority administration in the shape of independent councillor Wendy Harbon, who was thrown out of the Lib Dems last year and has since moved to Blackpool.

She was nowhere to be seen at last night's Cabinet-making meeting of the full council, and if she continues in this vein, she will be thrown off the authority, forcing a by-election in Darley ward, until recently a Labour stronghold.

Anyway to cut a long story short, if Labour were to win back this seat, it would be back in control of the city on the casting vote of the new Mayor, Barbara Jackson, who was also elected yesterday.

Sometimes, you know, I miss all this....

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