Tories strike coalition deal to run Lincolnshire County Council

Lincolnshire County Hall All three Liberal Democrats and at least three Lincolnshire Independents will be part of the coalition

The Conservatives have struck a deal with the Liberal Democrats and several Independents to form a coalition to run Lincolnshire County Council.

No party achieved an overall majority at the election with the Conservatives three short of the minimum required.

Analysis

It was all smiles when the Conservative leader Martin Hill and Independent Chris Brewis had their own 'rose garden' moment at County Offices.

But the need to do a deal with three Independents and the Liberal Democrats will have shaken the Tories - a party which has had an almost unbroken majority on Lincolnshire County Council for the past 39 years.

Councillor Hill has also shown his grittier side by refusing to work with Lincolnshire Independent leader Marianne Overton, hence the three Independent supporters out of a possible ten.

But in all, he's managed to pull off a deal which is as comfortable as he could hope in the circumstances - working with two, small groups whose personalities he knows well.

A deal with UKIP? That, one suspects, would have been simply too much to contemplate.

The party failed to regain control of Lincolnshire for only the second time in the local authority's history.

Tory leader, Martin Hill, said: "I'm pleased we now have a way forward and can get things sorted out."

'Difficult times'

He said: "What's important here is the stability of the council. We all know we've got these difficult times ahead, and the last thing we need is uncertainty."

The party's heavy losses were blamed on UKIP, which picked up 16 seats, while Labour won 12. Lincolnshire Independents achieved eight and the Lib Dems three - two independent councillors were also elected.

UKIP's East Midlands regional chairman, Chris Pain, said he did not want a coalition with the Conservatives but preferred an "open council".

All three Lib Dems elected, Pat O'Connor, John Marriott and leader Reg Shore, will join the coalition.

At least three Lincolnshire Independents, Chris Brewis, Bill Aron and Angela Newton, with the latter leading the group.

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