THE leader of Dudley Conservatives has accused the borough's UKIP group of "being bought off" by Labour after the purple party ruled out a deal with the Tories.

Talks have been going on since the May 5 local election about which party will take the helm at Dudley Council after Labour lost overall control and a decision will be confirmed at tomorrow’s AGM at Dudley Council House.

Labour chiefs, however, expect to cling onto power as a minority administration with just 35 seats out of 72 after the eight UKIP members on the council voted against doing a deal with the 29-strong Conservative group.

Councillor Paul Brothwood, Dudley UKIP group leader, said UKIP councillors decided they wanted to "maintain their independence to ensure there is robust opposition" although they have requested a number of their policies be implemented.

Councillor Patrick Harley, leader of Dudley Conservatives, however, has accused cllr Brothwood of doing a U-turn on his pre-election pledge that he would not form a coalition with Labour - as UKIP has after post-election negotiations with Labour reportedly been given a chairmanship of a council committee (which offers a £4,500 yearly allowance) and a paid appointment to an outside body (Centro).

Cllr Harley, who had been trying to convince reluctant Tories to do a deal with UKIP to take control of the authority, said: “He's gone and secured two members well-paid jobs. They've been bought off by the Labour Party. It shows a complete lack of integrity."

He branded the group "absolutely gutless" and said: "This was the first chance they’ve had to influence policy and shape the future of the borough and instead of doing the right thing they’ve gone and done a deal with the people that got us in this mess in the first place. They’re going to prop up a failed Labour administration for the next two years.

"We thought we had a deal - but it just goes to show when they had to rise to the challenge they weren’t grown up enough as a political party to do that. I think they’ve been very naïve. I wouldn’t trust them ever again."

Cllr Brothwood said the party had negotiated the same options with both Labour and the Conservatives and he decided not to enter into any formal coalition with either.

He said: "The Tories offered us the same paid positions but we didn’t want to be propping up the Conservatives – we couldn’t see it working for two years.

"All parties will be involved in decisions now and we can still vote against anything Labour puts forward. I think better decisions will be made and we’ll see a lot more joined up thinking.

“I look forward to working with the other parties to overcome the challenges ahead."

Labour leader - Councillor Pete Lowe, who is expected to remain as council leader, said the Tories have also been offered the chance to chair three scrutiny committees as part of the future administration as Labour was left one short of an overall majority and he said: "It's most important we ensure stability for the people of Dudley."

The post of leader, cabinet positions and committee chairmanships will be agreed at the annual council meeting, which starts at 6pm tomorrow (Thursday May 19). The new Mayor of Dudley and Deputy Mayor will also be confirmed.