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Last Updated: Friday, 5 May 2006, 08:49 GMT 09:49 UK
Battle for control in Cheltenham
Conservatives enjoyed a successful election night in Gloucestershire.

They strengthened their position in Stroud and remained in charge of the hung council in Gloucester.

A battle for power now begins in Cheltenham, after voting left the Conservatives and Liberal-Democrats neck and neck.

Former county council leader Peter Clark who defected from Labour to the LibDems last year, polled just 237 in Gloucester, coming last in Grange ward.

Common ground

The decision over who takes control of Cheltenham Borough Council is due to be made on 11 May.

Political horse-trading is expected to begin between the Conservative and LibDem groups - which each hold 17 seats - and the People Against Bureaucracy (PAB) party which has two councillors.

PAB leader Les Godwin said: "We said we would work with either group provided they came up with good policies for the town.

There has been common ground with the PABs and the Conservatives, there are things on our list that I know his group will support
Duncan Smith, Conservative group leader

"Either of the two group leaders can approach me and tell me what their programme is likely to be for the future."

LibDem Andrew McKinlay believes he will lose his current post as Cabinet leader.

"From all I've seen over the last four years of the relationship between the Conservatives and PAB, I have no doubt they will come to an arrangement to put in a Conservative administration," he said.

But Tory group leader Duncan Smith said: "There will be no formal deals between the Cons and the PAB.

"His (Les Godwin) is a group of independents and will vote on the issues. But there has been common ground with the PABs and the Conservatives, there are things on our list that I know his group will support."

Labour lost one of their only two seats.




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