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Wolverhampton City Council chaos as coalition fails

Wolverhampton | News | Published:

Chaos was today gripping Wolverhampton City Council following the dramatic collapse of the Conservative-Lib Dem coalition.

Chaos was today gripping Wolverhampton City Council following the dramatic collapse of the Conservative-Lib Dem coalition.

The Lib Dems have withdrawn support for the administration led by the Tories' Neville Patten. But today there was confusion over who is actually in charge, as no party has an outright majority in a chamber of 30 Labour members, 25 Tories and five Lib-Dems.

In-fighting has also broken out among Lib Dems over whether they should have abandoned the coalition.

Party chiefs are now meeting with their councillors to decide their next move.

The disarray comes after Lib Dem schools boss Councillor Claire Darke pulled out of the coalition on Friday afternoon, saying it was "morally wrong" to keep it in power following a by-election defeat in Bilston in July.

Senior Lib Dem councillors like mayor Malcolm Gwinnett and group leader Mike Heap were not happy about pulling out.

The balance of power has been on a knife edge ever since as Labour has the same number of councillors as the ruling coalition.

Labour is now considering trying to oust Lib Dem mayor Councillor Malcolm Gwinnett, who has the casting vote in the event of a deadlock. Getting rid of him would mean his Labour deputy Bert Turner would take over and would give the casting vote to the opposition.

Labour leader Roger Lawrence said today: "The sensible thing is for the Tories to review their position and decide whether they can continue."

By Daniel Wainwright

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