DYMOCK's Ted Roberts has been elected leader of the Forest of Dean District Council.

Coun Roberts is an Independent, the third largest group on the council, and was elected by a combination of Independent and Labour votes at the annual meeting.

That was enough to outmaneouvre the Conservative block, led by Redmarley's Will Windsor Clive. The Conservatives hold the largest number of seats with 17, but not a majority.

Afterwards, Coun Roberts denied Conservative claims that the Independents had joined forces with Labour, instead effectively declaring a minority administration.

Coun Windsor Clive is calling for Labour, with 16 seats, and the Independents, with 11, to declare a joint administration.

He said: "Labour proceeded to install an Independent leadership team while pretending to sit on the sidelines."

But Coun Roberts, who represents the Dymock, Bromesberrow and Kempley ward, said: "It's not true to say that the Independents and Labour have got together, and I don't want to get into the realm of throwing dead cats at each other.

"One assumes that within both the Labour party and the Conservatives there are people who are more interested in voting in the interests of the electorate. We'll see."