THE Tory leader of Worcester City Council today dangles the prospect of a 'Rainbow Coalition' - in an audacious pitch for a blue, red and green power-sharing deal.

Councillor Marc Bayliss has refused to rule out the unlikely concoction of all three parties coming together to take the city forward.

We can also reveal:

- Worcester's Labour group has put together a motion, to be voted on at Tuesday's Annual Council meeting, calling for him to be "removed as leader"of the authority and replaced by a new one

- Councillor Bayliss has not given up on avoiding the boot, and met Labour group leader Adrian Gregson on Monday afternoon for private talks which could yet see him cling to power

- Worcester MP Robin Walker has intervened in a plea to keep Councillor Bayliss on as leader, saying "the Conservatives remain the largest group"

- Labour held its own private talks with the Green Party on Monday, which were said to be constructive

A deal which could yet see Councillor Bayliss at the helm of a three-party deal seem very unlikely after last week's local elections led the Guildhall into a state of 'no overall control'.

But the leader has refused to rule that prospect out, saying he considers a "multi-party" agreement "not too fanciful" given how the numbers stack up.

"I've met with Louis (Stephen, Worcester Green Party's chairman) and had a very polite, professional conversation," he said.

"I've also met with Adrian Gregson and had a chat with him as well, it was an interesting conversation and we'll see where it goes.

"There's not much more I can say at this point, I've agreed to talk with them later in the week.

"But what I would say is that I'm open to all options.

"The people of Worcester have elected a council of no overall control, and what I'm seeking to do at this point is make better sense of that.

"My first duty as leader is to find a stable way of working going forward, and a stable administration."

He also said he could not rule out a "multi-party cabinet" in the interests of taking Worcester forward.

But such an unlikely deal would have to overcome the massive policy differences in each of their respective election manifestos - not to mention the likelihood of any Tory-Labour 'arrangement' being opposed by their political parties at a national level.

It comes as the Labour Party has upped the ante by formally handing in a motion asking to remove him as leader.

Under the council's own rules a political party has to hand a motion in seven days before it is voted on, meaning Labour had to act now despite not yet clinching a deal with the Greens.

Yesterday, Councillor Gregson said he was "likely to have more talks" with the Green Party later this week.


ROBIN Walker says he is "not going to pretend" the elections went his party's way - but has issued a rallying call for the Conservatives to stay in power.

The MP said as the Tories are still largest party, with 17 of the council's 35 seats, he still held out hope it could govern.

But Mr Walker also insisted he would do his best to work with a Labour-Green administration if a deal was struck.

Alongside the 17-strong Tory group there are 16 Labour city councillors and two Greens.

Mr Walker said: "I'm not going to pretend that every contest went our way, or that these are the results we would have wanted.

"But I'm proud of all my councillors and candidates for the hard work they have put in.

"And I'm proud of both Simon Geraghty (the previous leader) and Marc Bayliss for the leadership they have shown.

"The Conservatives remain the largest group on Worcester City Council and I am hopeful we can continue to work together to take the city forward."

But he added: "I will work with whoever is elected to run our council and if the Greens with their two seats decide to put in a Labour administration, I will do all I can to work with them in the interests of the city."