The Green Party has accused Labour of a power grab after being knocked back in its bid for some of the most powerful positions on the city council.

Labour’s Lynn Denham and Jabba Riaz were appointed leader and deputy leader of the council during a meeting at the Guildhall last night (Tuesday, May 14).

Labour councillors will also chair key committees including Policy & Resources, Communities and Environment.

The Greens had wanted to stick with having joint leaders of the council drawn from the two biggest parties, then having lost that vote had wanted their group leader Louis Stephen to be deputy leader.

Worcester News: Worcester Labour councillors outside the GuildhallWorcester Labour councillors outside the Guildhall (Image: Worcester Labour)

They also wanted Green deputy leader Karen Lewing to remain in her role as Environment committee chair, a role that has gone to Labour councillor Zoe Cookson.

Cllr Stephen told the meeting: “Worcester City Council is in no overall control and this change in governance is nothing short of a land grab of the city council.”

He said after the meeting: “We believe that as the city has put no individual party in overall control, it is critical that all parties work together to run our city in line with how residents have voted.

READ MORE: Worcester City Council election results: Labour one short of majority

“It’s disappointing that Labour have now rejected that offer and have instead taken for themselves most of the council leadership positions of leader, deputy leader and chair of Policy & Resources.

Worcester News: Green councillors outside the Guildhall yesterdayGreen councillors outside the Guildhall yesterday (Image: Worcester Green Party)

“In a further blow to partnership working Labour also denied the Greens’ main request to continue in our successful chairing of the Environment Committee.” 

Cllr Lewing, said: “It’s clear the Green Party is now the main opposition on the council. We'll continue to support good ideas but will not hesitate to hold Labour to account when they make poor decisions.”

Cllr Riaz said: "People have voted for strong and stable leadership and that's the Labour party. They have voted for a party with a sense of direction.

“Labour won a fair share of votes across the city in each and every ward.”

Cllr Denham said: “It’s really important to have a clear vision for the council. The council can’t really speak with two different voices.

“It was an interesting experience last year for me as joint leader with the Green leader but neither of us were actually empowered to deliver our vision and values.”

She said she is keen to get going as the face of the city council, to work with the university, key city employers, social landlords and the hospital to make Worcester “a fantastic place to live”.

“Jabba and I have a lot of experience of working together and I think it’s important to have a deputy that shares the same vision and values and will have your back,” added Cllr Denham.

“We work well together and we have a strategic vision for the city.”