Coalition set to take control of Colchester Council

Political parties in Colchester have reached an agreement to run the local council together after making gains in the local elections.

The Liberal Democrats, Labour and the Green Party said in a joint statement they had reached a joint coalition agreement and will work together to form a new administration.

As the leader of the largest of the three groups, Councillor David King (Lib Dem, Mile End) is likely to become the new leader of Colchester Borough Council, if approved by the full council next week.

The local authority is still in no overall control after the elections and the Conservatives remain the largest party with 19 council seats, despite losing one seat to the Greens and three to the Lib Dems on May 5.

But the three parties will combine their seats to reach the 26 needed for a majority.

In the statement, group leaders said people had voted for candidates best placed to win against the Conservatives and the election result was a mandate for change in Colchester.

Cllr King said: “If confirmed as the new leader of the council I will ensure we help the most vulnerable in this cost-of-living crisis.

“We will support those that help others, like our local food banks. We will do what we can to restore trust in politics. By making sure we can do what we promise whilst still providing award winning services across the borough.”

Councillor Adam Fox (Labour, Old Heath and The Hythe) said: “This will be a new administration with new priorities for Colchester. We have new people with fresh ideas to tackle the biggest challenges for residents.

“We will deliver for people locally on the cost-of-living crisis, the environment and supporting our local economy.’

Councillor Steph Nissen (Green, Castle) said: “We hope that  by working together,  we can begin to rebuild trust in British politics by engaging in kinder, mature collaboration which puts our communities needs first and further addresses the climate and ecological Emergency”.

The Lib Dems now have 14 seats on the council, while labour have 13 and the Greens have 3, totalling to 30 seats altogether.

The Conservatives formed a joint administration of their own with the Highwoods Group after the 2021 elections but suffered losses to the Lib Dems and Greens this year, with former Conservative council leader Paul Dundas losing his Stanway seat.

There will be an annual meeting of the full council on Wednesday May 25 to appoint a new leader of the council, mayor and cabinet members.

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Charlie Ridler

Local Democracy Reporter