Councillors are at loggerheads over who will take control of Cherwell District Council as representatives failed to elect a new leadership at the meeting last night.

This comes following the local election results earlier this month when the council swung from a Conservative majority to no overall control.

On Tuesday, the Labour group pulled out of talks to form a coalition with the Liberal Democrats, Greens and Independents causing division between the parties.

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Labour group leader Sean Woodcock announced instead that his party, like the Conservatives, would be vying to form a minority administration.

But at the meeting both Mr Woodcock and Barry Wood, Conservatives, were voted down as leaders of the council.

As no decision was made, the meeting was adjourned to next Tuesday when the councillors will discuss the matter again.

Mr Woodcock has accused the Liberal Democrats of refusing to support Labour and leaving the council in "chaos".

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He told the Oxford Mail: "The local Conservatives lost their majority at the last set of elections.

“The people of Cherwell have clearly had enough of local Conservative incompetence and want a fresh start for our area.

“Labour made gains across Cherwell, winning more seats than the Liberal Democrats and the Greens.

“The Liberal Democrats have refused to support Labour and have now left the council in chaos.”

Oxford Mail: Councillor Barry WoodCouncillor Barry Wood

Councillor David Hingley, Liberal Democrat leader of the Progressive Oxfordshire Group on Cherwell District Council is calling on Labour to resume talks with his group.

He said: “On May 4, residents in Cherwell voted for change.

“The Conservatives won only three of the 16 seats that were elected.

“They have no mandate to remain in power.

“This evening, Liberal Democrats voted with our Green and independent partners in the Progressive Oxfordshire Group for change.

“The Conservative leader tried, and failed, to keep control of the council four times: first losing a confidence vote of the council and then trying to put himself forward three more times.

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“Voters have rejected the Conservatives and their disastrous agenda. They should accept the verdict of residents instead of trying to hold on to control. 

“We believe there is a majority for a progressive administration in Cherwell, combining Liberal Democrat, Green, independent and Labour councillors.

“We invite the Labour group to get back round the table tomorrow and resume talks to make that happen.

“We very much regret the decision yesterday of the Labour National Executive Committee to instruct the local Labour leader to walk away from talks on forming an administration.

Oxford Mail: Cherwell District Council headquarters Cherwell District Council headquarters (Image: Ed Nix)

“Following 10 days of constructive dialogue we had an agreement.

“We urge the Labour councillors on Cherwell to resume talks and create a stable, modern and supportive agenda for Cherwell residents during this cost-of-living crisis.

“As a result of Labour’s decision, this period of forming a stable administration for the council will now take a little longer.

“But we hope that the council can meet on May 23 and elect a new, progressive administration committed to serving the residents of Cherwell.

"Let’s get to work on their behalf.”