A WORCESTER councillor has dramatically quit the Labour Party - leaving the city's Conservatives on the brink of a sensational return to power.

Councillor Alan Amos resigned late on Sunday night, saying he intends to be an 'independent' at the Guildhall.

The shock move means if Cllr Amos votes with Worcester's 17-strong Tory group at a full council meeting tonight, it will be able to wrestle back control from Labour just one year after losing it.

Cllr Amos, who was first elected to the Warndon ward in 2008, has refused to go into the exact reasons for his resignation, but your Worcester News can reveal:

- Last week he tried to become Labour's new deputy mayor candidate for 2014/15, but after a vote took place fellow party councillors gave it to Jabba Riaz instead, leaving him furious

- When the decision was made, on Saturday May 24, he stormed out the meeting straightaway and finally made a firm decision to quit two days ago

- In recent years he's become growingly frustrated at being "not involved" in Labour's leadership team

- Back in 2011 he wanted to become Labour's parliamentary candidate for the next general election, but was effectively barred after the party agreed to use an all-women's shortlist

On Sunday night he delivered a short letter to Worcester's Labour HQ confirming his resignation, which only said he has "not been involved in the leadership of the Labour group for some time".

It called the timing "unfortunate" but went into no other details, or than to say he was now an independent councillor.

Last month's local elections left no party in overall control with Labour on 16 councillors, the Tories on 17, and the Lib Dems and Greens with one each.

Cllr Amos would only say he was "keeping his counsel" on which way to vote yesterday, but your Worcester News understands his mind is already made up.

He has refused to comment on the falling out, only saying tonight will be "a very difficult decision to make".

Councillor Adrian Gregson, city council leader, is now facing the axe tonight along with his entire cabinet.

He admitted the Labour administration is now in "significant jeopardy".

A spokesman for Worcester Labour Party said: "We are disappointed with Alan's decision and the implications it has for Labour's vision for Worcester City Council."


THE implications for tonight's full council meeting now depend almost entirely on how Cllr Alan Amos votes.

If he backs the 17-strong opposition Tory group, they get back into power, with Cllr Simon Geraghty poised to become the new leader for a second spell.

If Cllr Amos sits on his hands, the 15-strong Labour Party could stay in power by the finest of margins if it gets backing from lone Lib Dem Liz Smith and single Green Neil Laurenson.

In that scenario, a 17-17 tie would mean the Mayor of Worcester, which is currently Labour's Pat Agar, would get the so-called 'casting vote'.

But a Cllr Amos vote for the Conservatives would mean a Lab-Lib-Green deal would not be possible.

The meeting starts from 7pm and the Guildhall and we will have LIVE coverage at worcesternews.co.uk tonight.


WORCESTER'S lone Green Party Councillor admitted his shock at Cllr Amos's resignation yesterday - saying he never saw it coming.

Ever since the local election results left no party in overall Councillor Neil Laurenson has played the 'Kingmaker' with both the Tories and Labour over which side he would back.

Yesterday morning he had no idea Cllr Amos has left Labour until a phone call from your Worcester News - leaving his Green 'wish list' for Worcester potentially in tatters.

Cllr Laurenson had drawn up eight topics he wanted Labour and the Tories to consider, based around no privatisation of services, incentives for shops to convert their upper floors to flats and a food waste pilot.

He was still scheduled to talk to Labour last night having not made his mind up which way to go, but if Cllr Amos backs the Conservatives today his decision is irrelevant.

He even sat down with Worcester's finance chief Lesley Meagher yesterday morning to go through the likely costs of the items on his wish list.

"It would appear that Alan's going to go with the Conservatives and no-one needs to be told that it changes absolutely everything," he said.

"The timing of it is quite interesting, that's for sure.

"It is disappointing that it looks like I won't get my policies through but that's his decision, he's obviously thought it through."

Sources inside Worcester Labour Party say they were "shocked" by Cllr Amos quitting, but not entirely surprised.

Cllr Amos was a former Tory MP for Hexham in Northumberland between 1987 and 1992, before being de-selected and joining Labour in 1994.

One insider said: "In many ways this was coming a long time ago, it's very sad for Adrian (Gregson, the Labour and council leader).

"Some of us thought it might have been just before the next general election. "I'm shocked by not surprised."

Another Labour veteran said Cllr Amos had timed it to "cause the maximum amount of damage" possible.

"It's a clash of personalities, he never got on with some people," he said.


THE leader of Worcester's Conservatives has spoken of his determination to get back into power - urging Labour to "step aside".

Councillor Simon Geraghty, who led a Tory-controlled city council from 2006 to May 2013, could be back in that role tonight after Cllr Amos quit Labour.

He said: "It's clearly a dramatic fall-out and in the light of that I think most of the public will feel Labour cannot provide a stable administration for this city.

"They are now down to 15 councillors, they didn't win the popular vote in the elections and a day before a key vote of 'no confidence' in their leader, we get this.

"It's time for them to move aside, to allow us to form an administration and get on with running this city for the public.

"I would urge Adrian Gregson and Labour to move aside so we can get on."