A coalition has been formed between the Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties along with several independent councillors to lead Lincolnshire County Council over the next four years.
The Conservative leader Coun Martin Hill says he is ‘delighted’ with the agreement, which he hopes will be for the benefit of the community of Lincolnshire.
“This will give us a firm foundation for the next four years, so the council can continue to focus on the issues that matter most to local people,” he said.
“I look forward to working alongside my new colleagues.
“I’m sure that together we can achieve things that benefit all our local communities.”
The Conservatives were forced to seek partnership with other parties after losing their outright majority at last Thursday’s local elections.
The party lost 25 seats, including those held by key players such as the council’s outgoing chairman Robert Palmer and its deputy leader Eddy Poll on a turbulent evening for local politics across the UK.
UKIP, the former political outsider, once dismissed as a party of ‘fruitcakes, loonies and closet racists’ by the Prime Minister David Cameron, made vast inroads into the Conservatives’ majority - taking 16 seats, from a previous base of nil.
As the party with the second highest number of seats after the Conservatives, the newly elected UKIP councillors may have been expecting some involvement in the coalition.
UKIP’s Coun Victoria Ayling, who took the Spilby Fen seat, has described the Conservatives’ decision as a ‘desperate clamour’ to hang on to power ‘whatever the costs’.
As UKIP is yet to elect a Lincolnshire leader to its party, Coun Ayling believes the Conservatives should have waited for that to happen before forming the coalition.
“It seems to have been a desperate clamour to form an alliance with a group, I believe will not act in the best interests of Lincolnshire,” she said.
“I’ve huge concerns that the people of Lincolnshire have been pushed to one side for political expediency so the Conservatives can hang on to power whatever the costs.”
Fellow UKIP councillor Chris Pain, also felt the move had been directed by political reasons rather than the voters’ interests.
“I don’t think the people of Lincolnshire who voted in the elections would have wanted to see a Con / Dem coalition of any description after what we’ve had running the country at a national level,” he said.
“I would rather see a democratically open council chamber where people vote independently on each issue rather than following party lines.
“I think the important thing is to try and make the county council work, turn it around and forget about political allegiances.”
Coun Colin Davie, the Conservative ward-holder for Ingoldmells Rural, and the only councillor in the Standard’s patch to sit on the coalition, believes all the coastal councillors must now work together, regardless of political allegiances.
“The elections are over, the public has spoken, now we must all to the best job we can for the county of Lincolnshire,” he said
“There’s now a great onus placed on the new councillors to step up to the plate and do the job they were elected for.
“I’m committed to working with everybody, across the political spectrum to ensure that the people of Lincolnshire, and especially those I represent personally, get the very best deal they can from their county council.”