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Labour's group leader John Kent cancels talks with top Tory councillor
A MEETING scheduled for this afternoon between Labour council group leader John Kent and senior Tory Rob Gledhill has been cancelled, the Gazette can exclusively reveal.
Mr Kent, the leader of Thurrock’s Labour group, and Mr Gledhill, the acting-leader of the borough’s Conservative group, were due to have talks today at council HQ.
It comes after the Gazette exclusively revealed this week how Labour and the Conservatives were going to get together and discuss how best to move forward following last week’s Ukip surge in the local elections.
Our exclusive told how an insider revealed to the Gazette how the talks would look at the prospect of a “grand coalition” between the two old enemies.
The senior council source said: “I’d lay my money on a grand coalition between Labour and the Conservatives. Talks have already taken place and more are planned.”
But following our revelations, today's planned meeting between Labour and the Conservatives top councillors has been cancelled.
Mr Kent, who has dismissed the prospect of any coalition, told the Gazette today: “I had a meeting organised with Rob Gledhill today, but it has been cancelled following the Thurrock Gazette's front page story this week.”
Mr Kent did not elaborate on why he took this decision following our exclusive.
Mr Gledhill, who the Gazette can reveal was not involved in any conversations prior to or since the election, said: “John Kent invited me to today's meeting. There were no details on what was to be discussed.
“This meeting was then cancelled on Thursday afternoon, again without details.”
He added that as far as he was concerned no discussion of forming a coalition had taken place nor had any discussions been had over any civic or decision making roles by anyone in the Conservatives.
One voter commented to the Gazette: "This looks to me like Labour has got cold feet.
"So what next? Something has to be sorted out within the council.
"Surely Labour, or the Tories, won't look to do anything with Ukip? So will Labour then try to get the two independents onboard?
"If not then how are any decisions going to materialise in future if the Tories don't back Labour and vice versa? It would be good for us voters to be told. Sooner rather than later.”
The make-up of the council: Labour 23, Conservatives 18, Ukip 6, independents 2.
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