Labour has turned down an initial proposal to form a “co-operative alliance” on a town council, the Green Party claims.

Negotiations have been taking place since the local elections to form a new administration on Lewes District Council after the Conservatives lost all of their 19 councillors.

However, the Green group on the council claims the national Labour Party has vetoed an agreement to form an administration with them, alongside the Liberal Democrats.

A spokeswoman for the Green said: “As the largest party, Greens have been leading negotiations with both the Liberal Democrats and Labour, inviting them to work with us to form an administration.

“We believe we can once again create a co-operative alliance that works for the best interests of the whole district.

“All parties had reached an agreement on a new way of working, however, we have now had confirmation that the national Labour Party have informed our local Labour colleagues that they currently do not have approval to take part in a co-operative alliance together, despite the success of the previous alliance.

“We genuinely hope we will continue to work in partnership to conclude the discussions and put the interests of local people first and foremost so we can see the new council firmed up as soon as possible.”


Liberal Democrat group leader Councillor James MacCleary said it was “disappointing” the national Labour Party had vetoed an agreement reached among the three parties.

Cllr MacCleary said: “We are hopeful that the Green Party will continue with the arrangement that we have successfully run for the last four years on Lewes District Council.

“We believe that the election results showed that residents appreciated our collaborative approach and the shared leadership model that saw Liberal Democrat and Green Party council leaders in alternate years.

“It is important to show that we will not just slip into narrow tribalism now that there are no Conservatives left on the council.”

However, a Labour source claimed the original proposal made by the Green Party was “unworkable” but the party remains hopeful a deal can be agreed.

The Argus understands a second proposal has been put forward and will be discussed by Labour’s National Executive Committee for approval.

The Argus:

Chris Collier, leader of the Labour group on Lewes District Council, said: “We’ve never stopped negotiating and communicating with the other parties.

“We’ll continue to do everything we can to do the right thing for residents.”

A spokesman for the national Labour Party said: “In accordance with Labour Party rules, where local election results leave a local authority with no party in overall control, Labour councillors must seek permission from the National Executive Committee (NEC) prior to entering into power-sharing arrangements with other parties.

“The NEC carefully considers such proposals and will only agree to such arrangements when it feels a stable administration capable of delivering for local residents can be established.”