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Torbay Independents could push Tories into opposition

The new group on the council could join forces with the Lib Dems

The new Independent Group on Torbay Council could end up in an alliance with the Liberal Democrats to push the Tories into opposition.

That is one possible outcome of talks taking place this week between the parties after the local elections left Torbay with a hung council.

Another option being considered is a “Rainbow Alliance” of all parties taking part in a joint administration in support of an agreed set of policies.

The Tories emerged from the vote on Thursday, May 2, with 15 of the 36 seats.

That made them the biggest party despite losing three places, but they ended up without the majority they need to run the authority.

The Lib-Dems grew their presence from seven to 13 seats, and the Independents took the other eight.

Meanwhile, the Liberal Democrats in East Devon will not be going into coalition with any other political group in the district, they have confirmed.

Following May’s elections, the Independents ended up as the largest party on the council, ending 45 years of Conservative rule since the council was formed.

Twenty Independent councillors were elected, while the East Devon Alliance won a further 11 seats. The Conservatives suffered 15 losses to end on 19, while the Liberal Democrats hold eight seats and the Green Party two.

Between the East Devon Alliance and the Independents, they hold 31 seats, which would be enough to control the council and have a majority, but discussions are still ongoing as to if a coalition between them can be formed an how many Independents would sit with the Independent Group.

But the Liberal Democrat Group, currently led by Cllr Steve Gazzard, have said that they respect the verdict of the voters and will not sign up to a formal alliance or agreement with any other groupings or parties.

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