Pendle Council: Power sharing to continue after mass resignation

Councillor Mohammed Iqbal speaking to the BBC outside the town hall in Nelson
Councillor Mohammed Iqbal is among those to have resigned from his role [BBC]

Power sharing between different parties will continue at a council after the mass resignation of 20 Labour councillors, the Liberal Democrats say.

Lib Dem Councillor David Whipp said its shared Pendle Council administration with Labour-turned-independents will keep previously agreed objectives.

The councillors from Pendle Council, Nelson and Brierfield town councils, quit Labour over the Easter weekend.

The Labour Party said its focus was on winning the next general election.

The councillors who resigned raised a host of accusations against the national party's policies and control of local councillors weeks before the May local elections.

This group, which includes Pendle Council's leader Asjad Mahmood, claimed it had left the "increasingly intolerant and dictatorial" Labour Party to become independents.

They also alleged Labour nationally no longer reflected their views and said they had been elected to represent local people - not party officials.

Lib-Dem councillor Whipp told the Local Democracy Reporting Service: "Liberal councillors will continue to work with newly independent colleagues to continue to implement the shared objectives set out in our agreement and continue to provide a stable structure for the services provided by local government in Pendle."

He added: "I understand why councillors have resigned from an increasingly intolerant and dictatorial Labour Party. The party now has no representatives on Pendle Council and is in disarray.

"Although we don't see eye-to-eye with councillors in the new independent group on every issue, we will work to ensure that Pendle Council continues to run as smoothly as possible under the new arrangements."

A Labour spokeswoman said: "The Labour Party's focus is on winning the general election so we can improve the lives of those we are elected to serve."

Candidate lists will be available on council websites by 4pm on 8 April, according to the Electoral Commission.

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