AN independent/Liberal Democrat partnership is set to take control in Redcar and Cleveland Council.

The local elections on May 2, produced something of a political earthquake across Teesside as voters roundly rejected Labour’s dominance.

In Redcar and Cleveland, no single party was left with an overall majority.

The previous minority Labour administration slumped from 28 seats to 15, leading to the resignation of Cllr Sue Jeffrey as group leader.

And while the Independents now make up the largest group with 18 members, a total of 30 seats is needed to get votes through full council, making the Lib Dems’ 13 seats necessary to reach a majority.

The Conservatives were left with 11 seats.

The two groups have agreed to work in equal partnership, with the new administration expected to be ratified at the council’s Annual General Meeting later this month.

Cabinet positions will be divided equally between the two groups, with Independents’ leader, Cllr Mary Lanigan, becoming council leader and Liberal Democrat Cllr Karen King taking the role as deputy council leader.

However, the two leaders will be working in equal partnership across all decision-making. Cllr King will also be responsible for the council’s communications.

There will be eight cabinet positions – including the leader and deputy leader – and the following portfolios will be held by the following councillors:

  • Corporate Resources – Cllr Glyn Nightingale
  • Children – Cllr Alison Barnes
  • Adult Social Care – Cllr Mary Ovens
  • Neighbourhoods and Environment – Cllr Barry Hunt
  • Economic Development – Cllr Wayne Davies
  • Social Wellbeing – Cllr Steve Kay

The groups have agreed a number of joint pledges and will commit to:

  1. Ensuring the area is clean and tidy and offers an attractive quality of life for its citizens
  2. Giving value for money in all Council services
  3. Raising the standard of secondary education
  4. Bringing jobs, prosperity and business diversity to the Borough and supporting our current businesses
  5. Making the whole Borough carbon neutral by 2030
  6. Ensuring no one is left behind by lack of support and encouraging and supporting independent living and good health

Cllr Lanigan said: “The Independents have come together from across the borough for the benefit of all the residents of Redcar and Cleveland. We will now be working in partnership with the Lib Dems to bring positive change.”

Cllr King said: “The Independents and Lib Dems have listened to the people of Redcar and Cleveland.

“They have asked for change and that is what we are giving them. Our priorities will ensure this change will improve the lives of all our residents.”

Speaking about the partnership, Cllr Wayne Davies, independent councillor for Loftus, said: “We as independents in the council are looking forward to delivering for the residents of Redcar and Cleveland who who put their faith in us.

“We want to make sure we get it right.

“Working with the Liberal Democrats as a partnership we feel we can all achieve what we were elected to deliver.”