A Labour bid to seize control of a Black Country council has failed in the face of a rainbow alliance between the Tories, Lib Dems and UKIP.
Despite being the largest single party on Walsall Borough Council with 29 out of 60 seats, the Labour group were unable to unseat Tory leader Mike Bird.
The Labour motion to replace the Tories after 14 years running Walsall Council was tied 29 each with the 21 Tories, three each for the Lib Dems and UKIP and two independents voting against.
The mayor, independent socialist Pete Smith abstained, meaning that that Coun Bird and Tories, who have been in coalition with Lib Dems for the last three years, stay in power by default.
Lib Dem leader Coun Ian Shires said: “An attempt to displace Walsall Council’s minority Tory/LibDem Coalition administration fizzled out as Labour failed to put forward any alternatives.
“Instead, the Labour leadership confined their attack to a rant about the current coalition administration whilst at the same time failing to say what they would do if they were in control.”
Labour group leader Coun Sean Coughlan has vowed to force another vote should Labour win a by-election in the Birchills Leamore ward on July 24. The election was called follows the death of former Labour leader Tim Oliver last month. Victory in that poll would give Labour the 30 votes it needs to secure the leadership.
Coun Coughlan accused the Tories and Lib Dem of ‘clinging on to power with support from UKIP and independents’ and even though the voters had made it clear that Labour is the largest single party.
“We hope to win the Birchills Leamore by-election which will strengthen our hand and will allow us to come back to the council chamber and try again to form an administration that represents the needs of voters not the self interest of politicians.”