DUDLEY Council is in limbo after local election results left neither major political party with an overall majority.

Labour increased its number of councillors to 34 while the Conservatives suffered losses and their tally of seats dropped, also to 34.

The remaining places on the 72 seat council were taken by three Liberal Democrats and the solitary remaining independent, Councillor Shaun Keasey, who was re-elected for Sedgley.

Discussions are now under way to work out who will take control when the council meets for the first time after the election on May 16.

Cllr Keasey confirmed he had been talking to both Labour and the Tories but is not in the mood to do a deal that would hand control to either side.

He said: “I don’t like words like ‘kingmaker’, it’s up to all of us. I am going to use my position to get as much for Sedgley as I can.

“I also understand that we have got a responsibility to do the best for the entire borough.

“We have got to be grown up and put party politics to one side.”

The Lib Dems have also been in touch with both big political groups on the council but no deals have been done and talks are expected to continue for the coming days.

Councillor Ryan Priest, for the Lib Dems, said: “I suspect one side will end up running a minority administration, I don’t think we have enough councillors to go for seats on the cabinet.

“We will be looking to get our election priorities on the agenda of whoever is running the council.”

Under a minority administration one party will be in charge with support from councillors of other groups or independents to win votes in the council chamber.

Although it may sound chaotic many councils are run with no overall control (NOC). Out of the 107 councils involved in 2024’s elections 37 others will be in the same situation as Dudley.

The process will be familiar to many longer-standing members of Dudley Council. Back in 2018 each big party had 35 seats with one independent councillor and one UKIP councillor completing the picture.

Conservative leader Councillor Patrick Harley believes he will continue as council leader despite losing his majority.

He said: “We are in a strong position to wield some influence with the independent or smaller political group.

“I have been here before when we had no overall control, I led quite a successful administration and that takes some skill and diplomacy but I have done it before and will do it again.”

Labour leader, Councillor Pete Lowe, said he would not do deals simply to take control, he said: “I’m not a believer in power at any cost.

“We have got to take a moment of reflection and look at what is in the interests of the people of Dudley, how we ensure decisions are held to account and have mature conversations with representatives of all political parties and the independent.”