IT turned out to be no change at the top of Worcester City Council but things could have been different had a plan to appoint co-leaders not been rejected by the leader of the council’s Labour group.

At its annual full council meeting on Tuesday (May 14), councillors were asked to appoint its leader and deputy leader.

The council’s constitution states the leader of the majority party becomes council leader but Cllr Louis Stephen, leader of the council’s Greens, put forward the idea of having co-leaders.

With the Conservatives losing its overall majority in the Guildhall earlier this month, Cllr Marc Bayliss, leader of the council’s Conservative group and leader of the council since March last year, offered to give up his role as sole leader and share it with his Labour rival Cllr Adrian Gregson.

For the plan to go ahead, all three group leaders would have to agree but Cllr Gregson, said the plan would be “unconstitutional” and rejected it.

This meant he was re-appointed as deputy leader with Cllr Bayliss retaking his role as leader.

Cllr Bayliss said he was prepared to accept Cllr Louis Stephen’s proposal in order to create a “stable platform” for the council next year and was willing to concede the sole leadership to create a “more harmonious situation” in the council.

Cllr Bayliss said he hoped the rejection meant the council’s leadership did not have to be revisited in the next year.

Cllr Gregson said he was “rather surprised” by the proposal and hoped to hear more about the reasons behind it.

He said: “We had a group leaders protocol that we worked on in some considerable length and came up with a coherent policy which has been enshrined in the constitution.

“What has been proposed tonight is unconstitutional and can be brought to a future meeting if the leader and the Green Party feel that is appropriate.

“I would welcome that proposal at a future date with a thoroughly worked out logical argument about why we should do that and how it would work.

“Cllr Bayliss is correct, there is very little difference between the role of leader and deputy leader but we have worked harmoniously through the last 12 months and I don’t see any reason why that should change.”