New leader of Waveney Conservatives vows to fight for power

The newly elected leader of Waveney's Conservative party says he has been left with no choice but to try and take control of the council.

Waveney District Council has been at a deadlock since the election earlier this month. Both Labour and Conservatives took 23 seats each, resulting in a hung council.

In order to break the impasse both parties have courted the support of independent councillor Peter Collecot and the Green's Graham Elliott.

While Mr Collecot has pledged his support to the Conservatives, Mr Elliott has said he will vote in favour of Labour's new leader Julian Swainson.

It means there will be a 24-24 stalemate when the authority meets on Wednesday to vote on who will become council leader and annual chairman.

Speaking yesterday Tory leader Colin Law admitted he was 'surprised' and 'disappointed' that Labour had refused to form an alliance.

'It's unfortunate that the current leader of the Labour group is not prepared to work together,' said Mr Law, who has been in local politics for four years.

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'We've offered them positions in the cabinet and the chance to work with us, but they threw it back in our face and said they weren't interested. 'Now, we will work to take control of the council.'

Mr Law said it was not an unprecedented political situation, but it was important to keep voters informed throughout the complicated process.

'We've got all sorts of stories going around about how we are trying to hang onto power, but that is not the case,' he said.

'The electorate had made its decision and the result is a hung council.

'What we can't afford is to go down the route of Punch and Judy politics. That will simply turn the electorate off. What the electorate wants is clear strategy, front line services and assurance that their council tax is kept low.'

Mr Swainson, who was elected as Labour leader on May 8, said his party would not form an alliance with Tories because Labour wants 'an administration that reflects the largest possible group of voters'

'I do not think voters would want Labour to help a defeated Tory administration to stay on in the town hall,' he said.

'The Labour and Green Party combined vote was 38,252, while the Tory and Independent vote came to 31,375. Clearly there are nearly 7,000 more votes in support of a Green-supported Labour council than for a Tory-led council.

'My greatest concern is that this important decision may be left to chance at the council annual general meeting on Wednesday, or require an impossibly difficult casting vote by the outgoing chairman.'

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