Labour has handed control of Warwickshire County Council to the Conservatives after failing to broker a powersharing deal with the Liberal Democrats.
The Tories were able to take the leadership and all ten cabinet places at the annual meeting yesterday for the first time since 1993, even though they are five short of a majority in the chamber.
Labour councillors abstained on a resolution proposing Tory Alan Farnell as leader of the council.
Liberal Democrats, who wanted the cabinet to be shared by the three main parties, voted against a Tory administration but lacked the numbers to defeat Coun Farnell (Nuneaton).
Minutes before, the new Tory chairman of the county council launched an attack on what he said was Birmingham's "domination" of the West Midlands.
Gordon Collett said a theme of his year in office would be to explore new links between Warwickshire and the East Midlands.
Coun Collett (Rugby) added: "The East Midlands is only just on the other side of the A5 and it is in our interests to ensure that the contacts we have, particularly with Leicestershire and Northamptonshire, are improved.
"We have absolutely nothing to lose and everything to gain. In many ways we have more in common with the East Midlands than the West Midlands which is, sadly, dominated by Birmingham."
Evidence emerged of behind the scenes talks over the council leadership since the county elections on May 5.
Labour deputy group leader Tim Naylor said he tried to strike an agreement with the Lib Dems but was rebuffed.
When Labour ruled the council from 2001 to 2005 the party had no overall control and relied on support from the Liberal Democrats, although there was no formal pact.
Coun Naylor (Leamington) said: "I make no apologies for at least having exploratory discussions with the Liberal Democrats."
Labour agreed that the largest political group should take power even without an overall majority, he added.