The leader of the Liberal Democrats in Herefordshire has defended not going into coalition with other smaller parties in the county.

This has left the Conservatives in unchallenged control of the Herefordshire Council following inconclusive elections earlier this month.

The formerly governing Independents for Herefordshire (i4H) / Greens coalition had tried to come to an arrangement with the LibDems, which would then have given the three groups a 27-strong bare majority in the council.

But Coun Terry James has now said: “After years of mismanagement that has seen our county council lose tens of millions of pounds, effectively leaving the council in a semi-bankrupt position, we couldn’t conscionably enter into a coalition with them.”


The other two parties were willing to meet the LibDems’ demand for a switch to a committee-based rather than cabinet-based system to run the county, giving rank-and-file councillors more say; but not their demand to have sole control of the cabinet until this was implemented.

“We were happy to act as an interim administration as we moved to the new system,” Coun James said.

“But it became clear that our colleagues in the Independent / Green alliance would not accept this unless they were given cabinet seats during the transition.”

He said the decision not to go into coalition “was validated with the vote for chairman of the council” last Friday, when the LibDem candidate Ed O’Driscoll was not supported by other parties.


The Greens instead put forward their own candidate, Stef Simmons, while i4H councillors backed Coun Roger Phillips of the Conservatives, who was elected.

“In essence what we now have is a minority Conservative administration that’s been propped up by former members of the Independent /Green alliance,” Coun James said.

He admitted to being “surprised by the turn of events”.

“But residents can rest assured Liberal Democrats will work to ensure we hold the new administration to account as an effective but constructive opposition striving to bring positive change to our county,” he said.

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