Labour and the Lib Dems close ranks to keep the Conservatives out of Milton Keynes Council leadership

The Lib Dems have spurned the advances of the Conservatives and decided to form a political marriage with Labour to run Milton Keynes Council.

By David Tooley, local democracy reporter
Friday, 14th May 2021, 12:32 pm

Liberal Democrats say the Conservatives did not want a political marriage but the Labour group made that commitment to them, and they are now set to run the council together.

They’ve even decided to create a new name – the “Progressive Alliance” – which the Tories have dismissed as a “coalition of complacency”.

Lib Dem leader Cllr Robin Bradburn (Bradwell), said: “Since last week’s elections we have held good-natured and constructive talks with both Labour and the Conservatives, and two things became clear.

Labour and the Lib Dems have joined forces to run MK Council

“Firstly, we believe all parties should work together as closely as possible whilst we recover from the pandemic. Secondly, the council should represent as many of the voters in Milton Keynes as possible.

“For those reasons, the Liberal Democrats think a ground-breaking Progressive Alliance is the way forward, and only one party was willing to work together – Labour.”

“From our talk with the Conservatives, it became clear their aim was to run the council alone, and they were not willing to work together.

“The Conservatives do not have a majority, and they received the minority of votes when compared to the combined Liberal Democrat and Labour vote.”

The new group is much bigger than the Conservatives

Together the parties easily cross the 29 seats they need to have a majority on the 57 seat council.

Labour’s 19 seats and the Lib Dems’ 13 are more than enough to outvote the Conservatives’ 24, and the one independent who has pledged his “family” loyalties to them.

Since the election the Conservatives, who are now the largest party and took seats off both their opponents, have been pressing their case for power.

But Labour council leader, Cllr Pete Marland (Wolverton) said: “We’ve listened to people on the doorstep and know that residents want a fresh start as we come out of the pandemic.

“The Progressive Alliance will change the way we do things. It is putting people above politics and providing hope for the future.

“United we will be bolder and faster in delivering an economic recovery, reducing child poverty, getting the basics right and making Milton Keynes the greenest city in the world.”

Tory leader Cllr Alex Walker (Stantonbury) vowed to keep the heat on their new opponents in advance of next year’s local elections when they could themselves become the majority party and take control.

Cllr Walker said: “On Thursday last week Milton Keynes residents gave us their support to deliver on our plan to get MK back on track.

“Labour and the Lib Dems lost seats in their heartlands and we had our best election in MK ever.

“The arrogance from the Labour and Lib Dem councillors – even after being resoundingly rejected at the ballot box – is mind boggling. They have created a coalition of complacency.

“To those voters who overwhelmingly supported our message and plan, I’m sorry. But we will step up our campaign and together work towards a Conservative majority in May next year.”