Lib-Lab war erupts over sale of public bus firm

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PADDY Ashdown may be pressing for co-operation with Labour, but last week war broke out between the two parties at local level, writes James Cusick.

The war zone was the garages and bus depots of Burnley and Nelson in northwest England. This week the Office of Fair Trading gave the go-ahead for the Liberal Democrat-controlled Pendle Borough Council to sell its 50 per cent holding in the Pendle and Burnley Transport Company to Stagecoach. But Labour-controlled Burnley says it will not sell its half.

Stagecoach has agreed to pay Pendle pounds 2m for its half of the company, valued at pounds 5.7m. But Stuart Caddy, deputy leader of Burnley Labour group, says: "We want this company to remain in public ownership."