The coalition of City Independent and Conservative councillors at Stoke-on-Trent City Council have agreed to continue to work together and form a cabinet again, after talks concluded following the local election results nearly two weeks ago.
The results of the local elections saw the Conservatives buck the trend of the party nationally by more than doubling the number of seats they had on the council. They ended the night with 15 seats, up from 7 at the previous election in 2015.
Combined with the City Independent’s 12 seats, it means that a coalition of the two would fulfill the working majority needed to form a cabinet.
The renewed coalition will be officially announced at next week’s annual council meeting.
Conservative leader Abi Brown, who was previously deputy leader of council, is set to become the new leader of the council after the agreement with the City Independents.
She said: “The two parties have worked incredibly well together over the last four years, which is testament to the many successes we have seen.
“A lot of exciting projects are already under way, such as the redevelopment of the East West Precinct and the restoration of two historic town halls.
“We also have a lot of important work ahead in children’s services following the recent Ofsted inspection. Focusing on that will be our top priority once the new administration is officially in place.”
Councillor Ann James, leader of the City Independent group and previous leader of the council, will become the new deputy leader of the council.
She said: “The past four years was never about politics, it was about making improvements for residents – which we have proved we can do. And now we can continue what we have started, for the good of everyone who lives, works and visits here.”
Meanwhile, Stoke’s Labour party find themselves in opposition on the council again after an election campaign which saw them lose seats despite huge support from the party leadership.
Labour leader Mohammed Pervez said: “I am extremely disappointed that the City Independents have chosen to continue with the coalition with the Conservatives. It just goes to show that every time you vote for City Independent, you are really voting Conservative.
“The decision by the City Independents to choose to continue their coalition from 2015 which left our older people neglected and our vulnerable children at risk is a bad move for our city.
“For as long as this coalition survives, the Labour Party and every Labour Councillor will hold the Tories and their City Independent collaborators to account.”
(Profile pictures courtesy of Stoke-on-Trent City Council)