Labour says it is reaching out to opposition parties to discuss forming a coalition in Sheffield
The new Leader of Sheffield Labour Group says he has approached opposition parties to discuss forming coalitions.
Sheffield Council is in no overall control after Labour’s defeat in the local elections last week.
The Greens won five seats, the Lib Dems took three and the Conservatives secured Stocksbridge.
The shock result was Council Leader Bob Johnson losing his Hillsborough seat, after just five months leading the city.
Coun Terry Fox was selected as the new Labour Leader over the weekend and says he has reached out to the Liberal Democrats and the Green Party to start talks.
Councillors Jack Scott and Fran Johnson also ran for the leadership but Coun Fox was successful in a ballot of Labour councillors. Coun Julie Grocutt was chosen as Deputy Leader.
Although Coun Fox is the new Labour Leader, he is not Council Leader as Labour no longer holds a majority on the council.
The political parties will need to forge a working partnership ahead of the council’s AGM on May 19 but it won’t be easy. There are at least six different scenarios of how the parties may form a coalition.
It’s understood Labour councillors will gather this week for a debrief on what went wrong during the election.
Coun Fox was reluctant to be drawn on the defeat but hinted at a couple of issues. He said: “Bob didn’t have enough time as the new Leader to put his stamp on things.
“The council did well in how it responded to the pandemic but Labour wasn’t able to enact everything it wanted to prior to lockdown.”
He added: “I have requested a sit down meeting with both the Lib Dems and the Greens to discuss going forward.
“It’s incumbent on politicians to get an administration over the line so we can start serving the people of Sheffield and I will do everything I can to get that done by May 19.”
Depending on the coalition, both Lewis Chinchen, the new Conservative councillor, and the new Lord Mayor could play pivotal roles with casting votes.