Lib Dems make Tories sweat - but this time it’s in Ipswich!
IPSWICH: It is not just in Westminster that the Liberal Democrats have kept the Tories dangling about whether they will join them in a coalition.
As soon as the last votes were counted after the local elections on Friday afternoon Conservative leader of Ipswich Borough Council Liz Harsant and Liberal Democrat leader Andrew Cann said they expected to be forming a new administration at Grafton House.
And the two of them went on regional television to explain how well the two parties could work together as a coalition.
But within minutes of that news item being broadcast, the new seven-person Lib Dem group at the borough was deciding to have discussions with Labour as well as the Conservatives.
They were deciding that just as the Conservative group was agreeing to support the Lib Dems’ nomination of Jane Chambers as mayor for next year.
And Mrs Harsant only found out that the Lib Dems had opened discussions with Labour when she heard Mr Cann on the radio.
She said: “I really don’t know what is happening. I thought we had an agreement, now I find this is all up in the air again. I am waiting to hear back from Andrew.”
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Mr Cann said his group had discussed the result of the election and felt it was right to also talk to Labour which won two seats – one from the Conservatives and one from the Lib Dems.
“We’re not talking about forming a coalition with Labour – but we will talk to them about allowing them to set up a minority administration.
“There is nothing more we are looking at from the Conservatives – we just want to consider all the options.”
Mr Cann met Labour leader David Ellesmere last night and will be talking to his own party today before making a final decision.