Lib Dems told to work with Tories

LIBERAL DEMOCRAT councillors will be told to share power with Tories if it helps to introduce their own policies, following a review of strategy by Paddy Ashdown and Liberal Democrat leaders, writes Colin Brown.

The party leaders, who discussed how they could capitalise on their successes in the county council elections and the Newbury by-election, decided to let local parties choose their partners for power-sharing in the counties.

It means Liberal Democrat councillors will continue to support Tory council teams in some areas, and Labour councillors in others, in spite of the 'bloody nose' for the Government.

A Liberal Democrat spokesman said it was part of a twin-track strategy aimed at strengthening the separate identity of the party nationally, while promoting more political co-operation, short of electoral pacts.

'If anything came out of the Newbury and county elections, it was the feeling that people want politicians to work together,' the spokesman said.

'We will leave it up to individual council groups as to what they feel is best for adopting their package of policies.'

The party will be concentrating its attack on the imposition of VAT on domestic fuel, and the privatisation of BR and the Post Office. It will be mounting a drive to add 10,000 members to its 100,000 membership list.