THE Conservatives are set to stay in charge at County Hall after Labour refused to form an administration.

The Tories lost their majority on Oxfordshire County Council on Friday after taking 31 of the 63 seats in Thursday's elections.

Labour, Liberal Democrat, Green Party and independent members have the 32 seats required for a majority administration.

But Labour, which took 15 seats, has refused to either form an administration with the Tories or a coalition with the others.

This means Tory leader Ian Hudspeth – who was re-elected group leader by his colleagues on Friday – is set to lead a minority administration or try to form a coalition with Lib Dems or  independent councillors.

Mr Hudspeth said last night: “I’m having ongoing discussions with my colleagues and other members of the council.

“But the most important thing is making sure we get a stable administration in place, so we can deliver the things the people of Oxfordshire care about.”

An administration will be formed by the next full council meeting next Tuesday, added Mr Hudspeth.

Lib Dem spokesman Neil Fawcett said: “We're open to working with any party, provided it brings stability to the running of the council.”

Labour took an extra eight seats while the Lib Dems increased their tally by three, giving them a total of 11 councillors.

Boundary changes cut total the number of councillors from 74 before the election to 63 now.

Labour group leader Liz Brighouse said meetings had been held with the Conservative leadership on Saturday.

But she said: “We can argue for our manifesto commitments from the official opposition benches.”

The Green Party – which retained its two seats – backed a “rainbow” coalition, but has refused to work with Tories.

Leader David Williams said: “We know that it is possible to overturn at least some of the damaging cuts to services.”