New alliance officially takes up the reins of power in Milton Keynes
A new civic partnership between Labour and the Lib Dems has formally taken the reins of power at Milton Keynes Council.
Following May’s round of local elections the Conservatives became the largest party grouping with 24 seats, to Labour’s 19 and the Lib Dems on 13.
But Labour and the Lib Dems, with 32 seats in total on their newly formed “Progressive Alliance”, can still outvote their Tory opponents, who are left on the council’s opposition benches.
The alliance means Labour and the Lib Dems formally count their councillors as being on the same side.
But when it comes to elections, the two parties will go their own way to fight for votes against each other under their traditional labels.
The council is run by Labour’s Pete Marland (Wolverton).
He has delegated authority to Lib Dem leader Cllr Robin Bradburn (Bradwell) and eight other cabinet members. They are split into six Labour and two other Lib Dems.
Lib Dem Cllr Jane Carr (Newport Pagnell South) takes the newly created tackling inequalities and child poverty portfolio.
She is looking forward to meeting council officers over the coming week before council meetings get going again.
Conservative leader Cllr Alex Walker (Stantonbury) told Wednesday’s annual meeting that his party, buoyed by an intake of nine new councillors, had “won the election and the argument.”
But at the annual meeting with one eye on next year’s elections he shrugged off being on the opposition benches as “such is life.”
“I may disagree with the outcome but the new coalition is at least a democratic one,” he said, offering his “sincere best wishes” to the new alliance.
Making a thinly veiled criticism of the appointment of only one Conservative to chair a scrutiny committee, he warned that his members will “scrutinise and challenge anything we see that puts recovery at risk.”
Another senior Tory said the ruling alliance is “marking its own homework.”