Oxford’s council leader has been told she needs to get out of her “city bubble” after she branded a political alliance a “rag tag coalition” on BBC Politics South.

After the local elections in May, it was expected the Conservative Party would lose control of the council and a coalition would be formed between the Labour Party, the Liberal Democrats, the Green Party and independent councillors.

The Conservative Party performed poorly in May’s local elections, with the Labour Party and the Liberal Democrats gaining five seats and the Green Party claiming two.

However, in the aftermath of the result, talks between the Progressive Alliance parties and the Labour Party broke down, after Labour walked away from negotiations at the “eleventh hour”, according to Liberal Democrat councillor David Hingley and leader of the Progressive Alliance.

Since then, the Conservative Party has formed a minority administration under Cherwell council leader Barry Wood.

Oxford City Council leader Susan Brown has caused controversy by choosing to describe the Progressive Alliance as a “rag tag coalition” when speaking as a guest on BBC Politics South at the weekend.

She told the programme: “I think the problems we have in Cherwell is there was some kind of rag tag coalition that was pulled together post the election between various different parties.

“They were trying to present themselves as one kind of political party.”

Cherwell and Green Party councillor Ian Middleton has said Ms Brown’s comments have simply “underlined her customary lack of knowledge of anything outside her city bubble”.

He added: “Ms Brown’s comments not only dismiss the hard work other parties have put in over several years to defeat the Conservatives.

"It further demonstrates Labour’s arrogant and ignorant attitude to the wishes of the electorate for all opposition parties to work together to remove the Tories from power in Oxfordshire once and for all.”

Mr Middleton highlighted the Progressive Oxfordshire Group started with three members in 2019 and this had since risen to 14 after this year’s elections.

He pointed to the alliance’s success in taking 13 seats from the Conservatives in that time, while the Labour Party has only managed to take three in Banbury.

Ms Brown told the Oxford Mail she was “very sorry” that other parties on the council “failed to take the opportunity to vote in the leader of the Labour Group”.

She added: “However, now they have made that choice we all need to live with the consequences."

Mr Middleton has previously alleged the Labour Party's National Executive Committee was responsible for pulling the plug on coalition talks.

Labour leader at Cherwell council Sean Woodcock has not answered questions from the Oxford Mail about these allegations and instead said Ms Brown's leadership at Oxford City Council had brought "real dynamic leadership" to the city.

Ms Brown’s comments have led to fierce criticism from a large number of Oxfordshire councillors on Twitter.

Eddie Reeves, the leader of the Conservative Party at the county council, said opposition parties “form coalitions when it suits them, and they reject working together when it looks bad”.

He said: “It is a deeply dishonest way of doing politics and they should have the courage of their convictions and fight elections on a united and left-wing programme.”

Mr Hingley has been approached for comment.