Cardiff’s Labour party group has accused Liberal Democrat leader Rodney Berman of plotting a “grubby” power-sharing deal with the Conservatives ahead of forthcoming local elections.
After the Lib Dems attacked Labour leader Heather Joyce’s record on speaking in council meetings, she retaliated by claiming it was an “open secret” Councillor Berman was planning a coalition with the Tories.
The Liberal Democrats have been sharing power with Neil McEvoy’s Plaid Cymru group since the last council elections in 2008.
Coun Joyce, leader of the Cardiff Labour group since last year, said: “It’s about time Rodney Berman grew a backbone and broke the habit of a lifetime by levelling with the people of Cardiff. It’s an open secret that the Lib Dems are plotting a coalition with the Tories after May 3 as they know that they are in line for a hammering at the ballot box.
“It will take more than Plaid Cymru to keep them in power this time, which is why they are making plans for a Tory/Lib Dem administration – the same sort of grubby deal they enjoy at Westminster.
“I can be absolutely clear with the people of Cardiff – under no circumstances will I ever enter into any coalition agreement with the Conservative Party. I’d welcome a similar undertaking from Rodney Berman.”
Labour group spokeswoman, Coun Cerys Furlong, added: “Rodney Berman and his Liberal Democrat colleagues are desperate to distance themselves from the Westminster Government, yet have not ruled out their own coalition with the Tories.”
Coun Berman last night said voters could “judge the Liberal Democrats on our record” but stopped short of ruling out a coalition with the Tories.
He said: “I am astonished by the clear admission from Labour that they do not now think they are on course to win the election.
“Only a couple of weeks ago they said victory was in their grasp, but with their eagerness to now talk about the scenario of a hung council they are clearly much less confident.
“As to what we would do in the event of a hung council, people can judge the Liberal Democrats on our record. Following both the 2004 and 2008 elections we could have decided to form a coalition with the Tories, but each time chose not to.”
When asked whether there was a possibility the Tories and Lib Dems could form a coalition following the election, Conservative leader David Walker said: “No, not really. It’s what the Labour party think will happen. That’s plotting their own downfall – if there was such an eventuality it would seem Labour hadn’t done well.”