MONMOUTHSHIRE’S Labour leader slammed the way negotiations were carried out to form a partnership administration of the county council.

Cllr Roger Harris said his party only found out the Conservative and Liberal Democrat groups were to join together at the end of Tuesday night’s council meeting at Monmouth’s Shire Hall.

Press releases handed out during the evening revealed the news and Labour councillors, including Armand Watts, were angry they had not been told.

Cllr Harris said: “We are not happy with it but knowing the underhand way negotiations between Liberal Democrats, Independents and ourselves were conducted we are not at all surprised.”

Last week we reported how formal talks had begun to decide how Monmouthshire council would be run, after it was left in no overall control following the May 3 elections, where the Tories failed to get a majority.

The new administration, announced yesterday will give the coalition 22 of the council’s 43 seats, a majority of one.

Simon Howarth, leader of the Plaid and Independents group in Monmouthshire, said his party “had some inclination things were materialising.”

Speaking after the meeting he said: “We are a very professional body of people and we did believe the Liberal Democrats would strike some kind of deal and were negotiating. We didn’t talk with anyone.”

Conservative leader Peter Fox refused to speak about the partnership when approached by us on Tuesday.

A statement is due to be made later today.

Liberal Democrat leader Phil Hobson issued a press release in which he spoke of his excitement at the opportunities the partnership will present.

“I know that the combined energies of this partnership will give all the people of the county of Monmouthshire a place they can continue to be proud of,” he said.