An agreement between Labour and the Lib Dems is highly likely to continue to run Milton Keynes Council following Thursday’s election.
Both parties returned with their positions strengthened following Friday’s count at Arena:MK that saw the Lib Dems take three seats, and Labour take two, all from the Conservatives.
Even though the message from Labour and the Lib Dems was they will take a weekend breather to recover from campaigning, the messages were positive from both parties.
With Labour’s annual meeting taking place tomorrow (Saturday), the party’s leader Pete Marland, who romped home in his Wolverton seat, said: “Our policies align quite closely.
“The voters quite clearly rejected the Conservative view that MK is not pro-growth and endorsed our view that we are pro sensible growth.”
Reflecting a rise in the number of votes to the Green party in his own ward and in Stantonbury, which may have held Labour back from taking the scalp of Tory leader Alex Walker, he said the council would need to focus on taking measures to combat climate change.
The party shares commitments on tacking child poverty in the city with the Lib Dems.
The message from Lib Dem leader Cllr Douglas McCall was also that they would relax over the Bank Holiday weekend before formally deciding the party’s position.
There is a full council meeting scheduled for May 15 when the parties have to allocate seats for the various roles.
Conservative leader Alex Walker was pleased his party did not suffer worse losses. After initial pessimism at the fate of his own future, he said he was “delighted to win another four years.”
“I am sad that we have lost my deputy, Catriona Morris, and others too who did not quite make it.”
But he said the party had been facing an uphill task to defend 12 seats out of the 19 that were up for grabs. They had been won in 2015, during a General Election year, with the Lib Dems at a low ebb in the polls.
Cllr Walker said the party had been planning for losses this year but intends to have two years of “going on the attack.”
“I do not want to be in opposition endlessly,” he said.
Among the new councillors elected was Lib Dem Kerrie Bradburn, who joins her mum, Marie, and dad, Robin, on the council.
She managed the upset of the election when she ousted Tory deputy Catriona Morris from the Broughton ward, ending her 12 years on the council.
Cllr Bradburn said: “It was third time lucky for me. I was not that confident of winning because there were too many unknowns.”
She put her victory down to persistence in developing a personal vote. The Lib Dems send out nine leaflets each year and she said that helps them keep in touch with the voters.