Decision time for Lib Dems

JUST days after the Conservatives regained power of the county, they could find themselves ousted from key positions at Civic Centre in Ipswich.The borough's Liberal Democrat group is to talk to the leaders of both the Conservative and Labour groups before deciding which to join in an administration to run the council.

JUST days after the Conservatives regained power of the county, they could find themselves ousted from key positions at Civic Centre in Ipswich.

The borough's Liberal Democrat group is to talk to the leaders of both the Conservative and Labour groups before deciding which to join in an administration to run the council.

But they're waiting to see who has their hands on the levers of power in the other parties before reaching a final decision.

The Labour group is to meet tomorrow evening to elect a leader to succeed Peter Gardiner who is stepping down after ten years at the helm.

His deputy, David Ellesmere, is expected to take over as group leader.

The Conservatives are meeting on Friday night to decide who should take over from Dale Jackson who resigned after being referred to the Standards Board for England after allegedly sending a "spoof" letter to the teenage daughter of fellow Tory councillor Stephen Barker.

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Acting council leader Liz Harsant will be standing for the leadership of the group - but she could face a challenge from other councillors.

Liberal Democrat group leader Richard Atkins said his group could not decide who to support until he had spoken to the new leaders of the other groups.

And the Star understands that the Liberal Democrats believe the leadership of the other groups is crucial.

A leading LibDem told the Star: "We have to be confident that whoever is leading the council will take account of the full administration."

The decision has to be made by the beginning of next week - a new administration has to be in place to take over the council at its annual meeting next Wednesday.

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