LEADER-in-waiting Andy Graham confirmed the Liberal Democrats are set to join forces with Labour and the Green Party to take control of West Oxfordshire District Council. 

The Liberal Democrats gained five seats from the Conservatives with Labour and the Greens bagging another one each on a bruising night at the ballot box for the Tories.

Just four of the 11 seats being defended by the party in power remained blue. Deputy leader David Harvey and cabinet member Merilyn Davies were the high-profile casualties.

No party has overall control now and while the Conservatives still have the most seats, leader Michele Mead accepted that a spell in opposition was on the cards with Councillor Graham clearly signalling his intent. 

“What we need to do is bring forward a plan that we can all get around,” he said.

“We have 15, Labour have nine, the Greens have two. Although the Conservatives are the largest group I think they will struggle. 

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“We are not interested [in a pact with the Tories], I think the people have said they don’t want the Conservatives and that is the result we have now.”

A Liberal-Labour-Green alliance would resemble the Fair Deal Alliance put together to change the guard at Oxfordshire County Council last year but Cllr Graham wants any new West Oxfordshire administration to make its own way.

“They will be there to advise but I don’t think they will create the mould, that mould is already created firstly by this fantastic result and the candidates that are now councillors,” he added.

“We have new ideas and a rich vein of experts from different walks of life. I am delighted for these new people who have stepped up to the mark to represent the communities in a real way. 

“It is a really positive step that will bring honesty and integrity back into politics.”

As for his view on the downfall of the Tories, he pulled no punches. 

“I think they were complacent,” he said. “I think they stopped caring and really they just didn’t, they ran negative campaigns which we ignored. We campaigned positively.”

The Tories dropped from 27 seats to 20 overall with the Liberal Democrats moving from 10 to 15. Labour have nine, the Greens have two and there are three independent councillors, none of whom were involved in this year’s elections, in West Oxfordshire.

If formed, a Liberal-Labour-Green alliance would have 26 of West Oxfordshire’s 49 seats.