Secret talks between South Gloucestershire’s Labour and Liberal Democrat councillors have descended into a shambles.
South Gloucestershire Council has been left without an administration and any political leadership for two full weeks following the local elections, which took place on Thursday 4 May.
With 23 councillors, the Conservative Group emerged from this month’s local elections as the largest party, but without an overall majority.
As a result, the opposition Labour and Liberal Democrat Groups, with 17 and 20 councillors respectively, agreed to hold talks to form a coalition. But after two full weeks of backroom deals and secret discussions, no decision has been made and the Council is still in limbo.
During that time, the Conservative Group has reached out to opposition councillors to try to break the deadlock. Each approach has been met with silence.
Cllr Sam Bromiley, Leader of the Conservative Group on South Gloucestershire Council, said: “It is simply unacceptable that two full weeks after the elections we still do not have a functioning administration running the Council.
“Labour and the Liberal Democrats have been conducting secret talks in backrooms away from the public gaze, and are still no nearer to agreeing anything.
“We have repeatedly reached out to the opposition to offer to work with them to form an administration that works for everybody in South Gloucestershire. Instead, they are taking residents for a ride with shameless delay tactics.
“Labour and the Liberal Democrats seem intent on forming a coalition to run the Council, despite the Conservatives emerging from the local elections as the largest party. Yet after two weeks of talks and still no final agreement, they can’t expect residents to have any faith in their ability to run the Council effectively.
“Worryingly, I fear this shambolic behaviour is a taste of things to come.”
South Gloucestershire is the only authority in the South West still without any political leadership following this month’s local elections.