INDEPENDENTS and Conservatives from across Allerdale flexed their newfound political muscle this week as they voted down a series of opposition motions.

The authority had been Labour-led but a new shared administration made up of Tories and non-affiliated councillors is now in the driving seat.

The Independents are a broad church politically, but theymade a show of unity and strength with backing from Conservative councillors.

Former council leader Alan Smith, now leading the opposition, nominated several councillors from the Labour Group to outside bodies. But the Independents and Conservatives voted down the motions.

Speaking after the meeting, coun Smith said: “It’s politics. It happens and I wasn’t really surprised. But I thought the nominees I put forward were the best people for the job and all very experienced.”

The Labour Group got a position on the Harrington and Harbour Dock Board because the representatives on this group have to be politically proportionate.

But motions that would have seen Labour councillors Sally Lansbury, Markus Campbell-Savours, Peter Kendall, John Crouch, Andy Semple and John Colhoun appointed to outside bodies were all defeated.

Appointments to outside bodies.

Cumbria County Council pensions board

Janet King, Independent councillor for Stainburn and Clifton.

Cumbria Health Scrutiny Committee

Carole Armstrong (Independent, Harrington and Salterbeck); Stephen Stoddart (Independent, Moorclose); Owen Martin (Conservative, Silloth and Solway Coast)

Harrington Harbour and Dock board

Hilary Harrington (Independent, Harrington); Mike Johnson (Conservative, Allhallows and Waverton); Mike Heaslip (Labour, St John’s, Workington)

Lake District National Park Authority

Nicky Cockburn (Independent, Broughton St Bridget’s)

Lake District National Park Authority, Keswick Joint Management Advisory Group

Allan Daniels (Conservative, Keswick); Ron Munby (Conservative, All Saints Cockermouth)

Local Enterprise Partnership Scrutiny Board

Carmel Bell (Conservative, Crummock and Derwent Valley)

Maryport Harbour Authority

George Kemp (Independent, Maryport)

Workington Harbour Management Committee

Mark Jenkinson (Conservative, Seaton); Mike Johnson (Conservative, Allhallows and Waverton); Stephen Stoddart (Independent, Moorclose)

Cumbria Police & Crime Panel Joint Committee

Adrian James Kirkbride (Maryport, Independent)

Solway Coast AONB joint advisory committee

John Cook (Conservative, Silloth & Solway Coast); Owen Martin (Conservative, Silloth & Solway Coast)

West Cumbria Cyclepath Network Steering Group

Will Wilkinson (Independents, St Michael’s Workington)