Leader of new Labour-controlled Mansfield Council promises to work with returning Independent Mayor

THE leader of the new ruling Labour Group on Mansfield District Council says he is prepared to work with Independent mayor Tony Egginton to drive the area forward.

Labour won control of the council for the first time since 2003 when 26 of its candidates won seats in today’s local elections.

But the only sour note for the party was the defeat by Steve Yemm to Mr Egginton in the mayoral election - after two recounts on the voters’ second choice.

However, jubilant Labour leader Coun Andy Wetton - who won his own Meden seat with a huge majority as Labour took 26 of the 36 seats on the reshaped local authority to the Mansfield Independent Forum’s 10 - said he was sure he and the mayor would be able ‘to discuss things and work together’.

“I don’t have any problems working with Tony,” said Coun Wetton. “He’s quite an astute politician for someone who claims not to be political. I’m sure we will be able to discuss things and work together to make sure our aspirations and his own aspirations for Mansfield are actually carried forward.”

And Coun Wetton said he hoped there would places on Mr Egginton’s cabinet for members of the Labour Group.

He said: “We’ll be having these sort of discussions over the next few days. Until I’ve spoken with Tony and discussed his plans and our plans I wouldn’t be prepared to comment further.

“But I wouldn’t have a problem with a cross-party cabinet. I would be disappointed if we didn’t get offered positions and I think it would be foolhardy of Tony if he did that.”

Coun Wetton said over the next four years his Labour Group would be looking to push ahead with the regeneration of Mansfield town centre and resolving the long-running saga over the derelict General Hospital site.

He also said his party would be looking to secure the future of Meden Swimming Complex in his home town of Warsop.

“We’ve had several defeats over the years and it’s very gratifying to actually have a successful campaign and actually return with council control.” added Coun Wetton.