The new Cornwall Council could be led by the Independent group, it has emerged.
The news came out following on from the shock defection yesterday of top tory Mike Eathorne-Gibbons from the Conservatives to the Independents.
The results of the elections on May 2 were inconclusive with 36 Liberal Democrats, 35 Independents and the Conservatives 31. But Mr Eathorne-Gibbons’ defection has meant the Liberal Democrats and Independents are now level-pegging on 36 seats.
The Independent group issued a statement this morning confirming their desire to lead Cornwall.
It said: “Independent Councillors have proposed to the other groups at Cornwall Council to help form an Administration. The Independents have invited all groups to participate in this administration.
"Constructive discussions are underway, with the hope of an agreement by the end of the week.”
Cornwall Council has 123 members and so any coalition would need the backing of at least 63 councillors. Tense negotiations are ongoing at County Hall over who will take charge of the administration.
It is understood that the new leader of Cornwall Council would be an Independent with a Liberal Democrat deputy leader.
The Liberal Democrat leader Jeremy Rowe said: “We're still talking to all groups and we hope that the administration will end up being as broadly based as possible.
“We think that stability is essential for the coming years and so far we have been encouraged to hear that the other groups agree with our approach.“
Mr Eathorne-Gibbons said he believed the Conservatives at County Hall had “lost it’s way” and said voters on the doorstep had complained of the party’s “shenanigans” which saw several Conservative defections.
Mr Eathorne-Gibbons said his decision was “honourable” but said he understood some people may have felt let down after voting for a Conservative who switched parties ten days after the election.
He said: “I attribute my success to a personal vote not a political one.”