New Burnley Labour leader to be announced ahead of council leadership battle

Outgoing Burnley Labour leader Mark Townsend says the ball is in the other parties' court over who will now take charge at town hall.

Coun. Townsend will step down from his role as group and council leader to become Mayor on May 19th.

While Labour remains the biggest group on the council with 18 seats, the other parties hold a combined 27, meaning a coalition could be on the cards.

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Labour took back control of the council in September last year after an uneasy coalition of Burnley and Padiham Independents, Conservatives and Liberal Democrats relying on the tacit support of the Greens collapsed.

However, Coun. Townsend admitted the opposition parties were now in a stronger position.

"Two years ago the opposition parties of Tories, Lib Dems, Independents and Greens worked together to install their own leader.

"The coalition fell apart after a much publicised fall out but we recognise that they are now in an even stronger position than two years ago to do something similar.

"The ball is therefore in their court as to whether they wish to form another coalition and put forward a nomination for leader of the council.

"The Labour Group remains by a significant margin the largest grouping on the council and is ready to form an administration under a Labour leader if the other parties cannot agree between themselves.

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"A new Labour group leader will be elected by the Labour group on Tuesday."