Monday, 10 May 2010

Further doubt over council's future as Lib Dem leaves

THE future balance of power at Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council could be more in doubt after a councillor changed his political grouping.

Conservative members last week lost their 26 majority out of 50 councillors after losing two seats in an election of a third of all seats.

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The Liberal Democrats gained one and Labour gained two – giving them a combined 26 seats needed to form a majority coalition.

But now Lib Dem Cllr Howard Allen has become an ‘independent Liberal Democrat’.

The move means there are now 23 Conservatives, 18 Lib Dems, seven Labour, one Green and two independent on the council.

It could raise the possibility of there being no overall control on the council, a move that could make it difficult to pass new policies and decisions.

Neither the Shirley West councillor or group leader Cllr Ian Hedley were this morning available for comment.

Conservative and cabinet member Ken Hawkins lost to Lib Dem Martin Hewings in Elmdon and Rob Hall lost to Labour’s David Jamieson in Kinghurst and Fordbridge at the May 6 vote.

And the British National Party has lost its only seat on the council, in Chelmsley Wood, to Labour’s Nick Stephens.

It comes after the Liberal Democrats celebrated narrowly keeping the Solihull Parliamentary seat for Lorely Burt by just 175 votes.

Conservatives Ian Courts and Diana Holl-Allen held the Dorridge and Hockley Heath and Knowle seats.

The council has been run with no overall control for most of the 1990s and again in 2007 after being in Tory hands since the 1970s.

Click here for the full results.

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