The Labour leader has conceded it is likely that the Tories will continue to run Cherwell Council ahead of a crunch meeting tonight (May 23).

Councillors will meet at 6.30pm to determine who will take control of the leadership going forward.

This comes following a stalemate at the meeting last week when the Labour group and the Tories vied to form a minority administration, but both were unsuccessful.

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Labour had been in negotiation with the Liberal Democrats, the Green Party and the Independents to form a coalition, but pulled out in favour of a minority leadership bid.

Labour leader, Sean Woodcock said: "Despite lots of speculation and noise on social media, I've kept silent on the current stalemate at Cherwell District Council.

“That's because over the last few days Banbury Labour has conducted extensive negotiations with the Liberal Democrat leadership to find a way forward. 

“In order to achieve this, a number of concessions were made on our part to facilitate a solution.

“I’m sorry for the people of Cherwell that our willingness to act in their best interest has not been reciprocated by the Lib Dems.

“As a result of their pettiness, the Conservatives will likely continue to run the council.

 “After this debacle it will become clear to voters that the Labour Party is the only truly progressive party in Cherwell.

“The Labour Party will continue to work tirelessly in support of our residents."

This comes following reports earlier in the week that the Labour party national executive had vetoed coalition plans with the Liberal Democrats and the Greens.

The Liberal Democrats on Cherwell District Council were approached for comment on the situation.

Councillor David Hingley said: “The Liberal Democrats have worked ceaselessly over the past two weeks in an attempt to deliver a stable progressive majority alliance for Cherwell.

“We had an agreed deal ready to go that was pulled by the Labour party at the eleventh hour, but nonetheless we sought extra time to allow Labour to engage in further discussions.

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“As reported in national media, it became clear that the Labour party’s National Executive Committee were unwilling to budge on a number of issues, and that instead of seeking cooperation in the best interests of Cherwell residents, have continued to block any deal.

“Far from offering concessions, extra demands were added, including that no Green or Independent councillors could be part of the alliance leading the council, meaning a minority administration.

“It is a lost opportunity for the district that instead of seeking to remove the Conservatives from office and engaging in serious discussions, the local Labour party have instead sought to deflect blame through undignified name-calling.

“The Liberal Democrats will continue to act as the serious, credible alternative to the Conservatives and work hard in the best interests of all residents.”

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