Portsmouth council likely to remain in Lib Dem control
THE Liberal Democrat group in Portsmouth looks likely to continue running the city council, as the Tories have been unable to secure any alliances.
Following the results of the recent local election the authority was once again left in no overall control.
However, the Conservative party came away with 16 seats, while the incumbent administration - the Lib Dems - reduced to 15.
Since neither group was able to secure the 22 seats needed for a majority, a fight for leadership of the council will ensue at tomorrow’s annual general meeting.
The Tories are set to place a vote of no confidence in current leader Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson and look to take control.
However, the group has not received the backing of the Labour group - which has a crucial part to play with seven seats.
Newly elected group leader, Councillor Matt Atkins said Labour had not returned his calls.
He said: ‘We were willing to work with Labour but it appears that despite an increase in councillors they would prefer to keep sitting on the sidelines instead of taking any responsibility for running this great city.’
Labour leader Cllr George Fielding confirmed his group would vote against the motion of no confidence to prevent the Tories taking control.
He said: ‘I did text Cllr Atkins and said we were happy to work with them on cross-party matters for the benefit of the city but that no formal agreement would be made with the Tory party.’
However, he said as of yet his group had yet to hear from the Lib Dems about working together on a range of proposed policies.
These included creating a citizens assembly to tackle climate change and rethinking the Tipner West regeneration project.
Cllr Fielding added: ‘Portsmouth Labour Party is proud to have been the only local party to publish a detailed election manifesto specifying how we would achieve our vision of a fairer,
‘We will press the new administration on these policies and look forward to working with other councillors, council officers and local residents in the coming year to put those ideas into practice.’
Previously Lib Dem leader Cllr Vernon-Jackson told The News: 'I don't think any coalitions will be happening.’
There are also two independent councillors on the council and two members of the Progressive Portsmouth People (PPP) group.
PPP leader Cllr Claire Udy said: ‘The Tories don't possess the charisma, uniqueness, nerve and talent that our group has.
‘I guess that's why they didn't call me.’
As reported, the annual general meeting will take place in the auditorium of the Guildhall from 10am tomorrow.
Members of the public can watch through a livestream via the council’s website.