Burnley Council set for Labour and Lib Dem joint administration
Labour and the Liberal Democrats are set to form a partnership administration to run Burnley Council after the borough elections left no party in overall control.
Talks are in the final stages to secure the deal in a move that would make new Labour group boss Coun. Afrasiab Anwar its first South Asian heritage leader.
The local elections on May 6th left the party, which lost four wards, with 18 councillors with 23 needed to former a majority administration.
The Lib Dems have eight, the Conservatives nine and the Greens and Burnley and Padiham Independent Party five each.
Burnley Council’s Labour group approved the deal, which would give the Lib Dems a seat on the executive, on Monday night and sent it for approval by the party’s National Executive Committee.
The partnership needs to be concluded in time for the confirmation of a new administration at Burnley Council’s annual meeting tomorrow night.
Bank Hall ward’s Coun. Anwar said: “We are still in discussions.
“No deal has been finalised. I am hopeful Labour can form an administration to give the borough the stability it needs coming out of the coronavirus pandemic.”
Lib Dem group leader Cllr Gordon Birtwistle said: “I am hopeful we can form a partnership administration with Labour to run Burnley for the next 12 months.
“This would give the borough the stability it needs coming out of the coronavirus pandemic. We are working on the details.”
Conservative group leader Coun. Alan Hosker said: “There isn’t much difference between Labour and the LibDems so this agreement was fully expected.
“We’ll be making sure that they focus on the priorities that the people of Burnley and Padiham want to see.”
Coun. Mark Payne, leader of the Burnley and Padiham Independents, said: “This is a strange decision by the Liberal Democrats. It’s not essential.”
Green Party leader Coun. Andy Fewings said: “Good luck to the new administration. I hope they will join us in tackling the climate crisis and fighting for a booming Green jobs economy. We must build better as we try to emerge from the coronavirus pandemic.”
The Lib Dems are expected to hold the executive portfolio for health and wellbeing in any new partnership administration.
Labour had run Burnley as a minority administration since September following the collapse of the previous multi-party coalition.