Hartlepool Conservatives have 'positive discussions' with independents over forming council coalition
Hartlepool Conservatives have had "positive conversations" with independent councillors over forming a coalition to run the council.
The party locally followed Jill Mortimer’s Tory victory in the Parliamentary by-election by winning 13 seats in the Hartlepool Borough Council elections.
But, while they clinched more seats than any other party, the figure was still short of the 19 needed for an overall majority.
Talks have been ongoing since and numerous independents have now said they are supportive of a coalition.
They include Independent Union representative and current council leader, Cllr Shane Moore, whose group formed a coalition with the Conservatives previously.
A Hartlepool Conservatives statement said: "Hartlepool Conservatives have welcomed the positive conversations with independent councillors to discuss the formation of a coalition.
"This new coalition will guarantee stability and continuity going forward to make Hartlepool a proud town once more.
"The offer of the coalition is open to all independent councillors to come forward should they wish to discuss being involved in a coalition to support Hartlepool Council and the town's residents."
Cllr Moore issued a statement saying he was "delighted" to put party politics aside to form a coalition once more.
He said: "I have been in discussions with Conservative and fellow independent councillors and I am delighted to report that we will once again be putting party politics aside and forming a coalition to run Hartlepool Borough Council.
"Together we have achieved a lot in the last two years and working constructively with this government, Jill Mortimer and Ben Houchen I have no doubt we will achieve much, much more."
Other independents supportive of a coalition include Stephen Picton and Darren Price, who were elected in Foggy Furze.
They said in a statement: "This will mean that although we are independent, we will have a stronger voice on all committees so the residents of our ward are well represented and so we can effectively tackle issues across the town."
They have been joined by councillors Paddy Brown and Peter Jackson, both elected in Throston, and who said they are "pleased to be supporting the coalition, so they can help keep streets clean and free from anti-social behaviour”.
While the support of the six independents would give a Tory-lead coalition 19 seats, the Mail understands that a deal has still to be confirmed.