THE LABOUR Party has taken control of Worcester City Council for the first time in 13 years by pulling off an unprecedented coup from the Conservatives.

Amid sensational scenes, Tory Councillor Simon Geraghty was ditched as leader and his entire cabinet dismissed as Labour, the Lib Dem and Green parties all teamed up to kick them out of office.

The deal has seen Labour stalwart Coun Adrian Gregson voted in as new city council leader, running a decision-making cabinet containing Lib Dem leader Coun Liz Smith.

The shock outcome follows days of tense behind-closed-doors talks between the three smaller opposition parties about ending Tory rule in Worcester, with a deal clinched shortly before tonight's annual full council meeting.

They have 18 councillors combined - compared to 17 from the Conservatives, which have been running the Guildhall up until tonight as a minority administration with Lib Dem backing.

Coun Smith said the Lib Dems’ change of mind was “difficult” but insisted the new deal would be “in the best interests of the city” after talks with all rival parties.

During angry exchanges in the council chamber, deposed council deputy leader Coun Marc Bayliss lambasted it as an “unprincipled coup by a new socialist alliance”, claiming it was about “national ideology, not the performance of the administration or leader.”

“What the party opposite could not achieve through the ballot box, they are now forming through a shady deal,” he said.

Fellow Tory Coun Andy Roberts, who lost his £5,985 role as cabinet member for finance, said it was a “shameless” agreement done behind their backs.

“I will take exception to anyone saying anything other than Simon has been brilliant for this city,” he said.

“During the last two years of Labour control (up to 2000) council tax went up 10 per cent.”

He added: “I worry about those people here who go to the electors in a yellow cloak, but wear a red one underneath.”

During a series of acrimonious exchanges back and forth Coun Gregson said “the city is in need of a kick start” and accused the Tories of leaving Worcester “dangerously exposed” with money-saving policies.

Labour Coun Paul Denham added: “Up until now the cabinet has been run like a secret society, there has been no opportunity for us to help develop policy.

“This city would be far better served by a listening cabinet and that is what we intend to do.”

Coun Smith said a Labour-run authority would “maintain all services possible”, while fellow Lib Dem Coun Ken Carpenter said the group had changed its mind over the Conservatives being the best party to run the city.

“A year ago, we asked ourselves how to ensure a stable administration, and felt supporting the Conservatives was the only viable choice - our perception has changed,” he said.

A visibly devastated Coun Geraghty, a career politician who first took over the council in May 2006, said he was “proud” of his time in office.

He must now return to the backbenches, losing £10,725 in the process.

“I have been proud to have led this council for the last seven years - I have always tried to put the city first,” he said.

“I have strived to improve the city, but I recognise no party has overall control.

“Nobody is perfect, but I genuinely did my best to put the city, this council and the residents of Worcester first.”

Coun Neil Laurenson said little during the debate, but did tell the room he “respected the calm and dignified manner” of the disposed leader’s response.

Labour Coun Geoff Williams has become the new deputy leader and cabinet member for economic prosperity, with fellow Labour politicians filling all but one of the other decision-making roles.

Labour's Pat Agar was also voted in as new Mayor of Worcester tonight, taking over from Roger Berry, while Labour's Paul Denham is deputy Mayor.

More on this story will follow in the morning.