LEADING councillors are due to meet with BCP chief executive, Graham Farrant, at the end of the week to progress plans for an alliance to run the new council.

The Echo understands that representatives from the Liberal Democrats, Christchurch Independents and the Poole People's Party will hold talks with Mr Farrant to see how the complex process could be achieved given the tight numbers on the hung council.

The Conservatives are the biggest party with 36 of the 76 seats following last Thursday's election to the new £700m-budget unitary authority, three short of a majority.

But if all the others groups, parties and individuals worked together, they could muster enough support to form an administration.

It has been suggested that the first full BCP council meeting scheduled for May 21 could be postponed to allow more time for negotiations.

The fast-moving political narrative had another subplot last night.

The controversial Conservative group leader Cllr John Beesley was being challenged for the leadership by one of his former cabinet colleagues, Cllr Bob Lawton who is believes the party and BCP needs a fresh start. The result of the contest was not known at the time of going to press.

Cllr Mark Anderson was to fight it out with Cllr Phil Broadhead for deputy leader.

Councillor David Brown who was leader of the Lib Dem Group in Borough of Poole said: “Looking at the results from Thursday, it is clear that residents of Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole have voted overwhelmingly for a change from the one-party state which previously dominated each of the preceding councils.

"It is time that the Conservatives accepted the view of local people and stepped aside to allow others to form a new administration for BCP Council.”

“Despite the continuing impact of government-imposed austerity, there are still opportunities to better serve the people and businesses of this area and bring about positive change.”

Councillor Vikki Slade added: “We want to make it clear that we will not consider a partnership with the discredited Conservatives in BCP. In light of these fantastic results there is now an opportunity for our 15 strong Lib Dem group to work with other like-minded groups to form a new administration.”

“Our group has unanimously agreed to initiate discussions to form a cross-party alliance. Intensive discussions over the past few days have shown that there is a willingness to bring people together and an energy to deliver an exciting and fresh agenda for the area."

Margaret Phipps, the leader of the Christchurch Independents said: “We were given a clear message on the doorstep. Residents wanted the unfair council tax situation sorted out and they want the borough protected. Council tax is one of our red lines on the new council and separate, autonomous planning boards is another.”

Cllr Flagg, the leader of the old Christchurch Council added: “We start life as a new group from a position of strength and with the ability to ensure that Christchurch has a strong voice.”