Coalitions could be forming between Portsmouth political parties ahead of leadership vote

COALITIONS could be forming as political groups in Portsmouth remain 'in talks' over the leadership of the council.

Wednesday, 12th May 2021, 5:08 pm

The Conservative party in the city confirmed it has been in discussions with the Liberal Democrats and is yet to enter into conversations with Labour over potential alliances.

The results of local elections last week left the Tories with 16 seats, the Lib Dems with 15, Labour with seven, and the Progressive Portsmouth People (PPP) with two. There are also two independent councillors.

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Tory leader Cllr Matthew Atkins Picture: Fiona Callingham

But a majority for Portsmouth City Council requires 22 seats, so allegiances from other councillors will prove vital.

Both the Tories and Lib Dems have told The News they each have a mandate to run the council.

And Labour group leader Councillor George Fielding said he would be speaking with both the Lib Dems and Tories on their position.

Newly appointed Conservative leader, Cllr Matthew Atkins, reaffirmed that his group would be willing to work 'with anyone.'

The Cosham representative said: 'I have been talking with (Lib Dem leader) Cllr Vernon-Jackson and I am waiting to have that conversation with Cllr Fielding.

'As I have said before the Conservative party will work with anyone if we think in the interest of the city and look to form a solution that is suitable and stable.'

Recently selected deputy leader of the Liberal Democrats, Cllr Suzy Horton, said there was 'no update yet' on conversations with other parties.

As reported, group leader of PPP - Cllr Claire Udy - said she would be willing to work with the Lib Dems.

But independent councillor Linda Symes said she would pledge her vote to the Tories, and was hoping to return to the party next month following her suspension last year over alleged racist social media posts.

It is expected the ultimate decision on the future leader of the council will come down to a vote during an annual general meeting at the Guildhall on Tuesday, May 18.

Controversially the meeting will be held in person, as opposed to virtually, after government ruled local councils could no longer hold events online from May 7.

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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