LABOUR have regained control of Stroud District Council with backing from Green Party and Lib Dem colleagues.

Dursley councillor Geoff Wheeler was named cabinet leader at the council’s AGM at Ebley Mill last night, Thursday, May 17, after the previous incumbent Cllr Frances Roden (Con, Painswick) announced her resignation, saying it was necessary to maintain the dignity of the chamber.

Labour group leader Karon Cross (Cainscross) stepped into the role of deputy leader.

Cllr John Hudson, who recently left the Conservatives to stand as an independent, was re-appointed as chairman of the council for his sixth successive year – beating challenger Cllr John Jones (Con, Severn) to the post by six votes – with Cllr Mark Rees (Lab, Cainscross) seeing off Cllr Brian Tipper (Con, Cam East) by the same margin to claim the role of vice-chairman.

Rumours that Labour, Lib Dems and the Greens would merge to form a so-called ‘rainbow alliance’ had been rife since this month’s district elections saw Labour clinch five seats from the Conservatives – allowing the partnership to outnumber the Tories 27 to 21.

Cllr Wheeler brought an early end to proceedings when he called for an adjournment to consider the structure of the new council.

Members will re-convene at Ebley Mill from 7pm next Thursday, May 24, when membership of the new cabinet and the council’s various committees will be announced.