Alexandra Wood THE Liberal Democrats took the helm of Hull Council yesterday in a shock takeover – helped by former Labour leader Colin Inglis.
Coun Inglis voted with Independent councillor Terry Geraghty and the authority's two Tories to edge Lib Dem Carl Minns into the hot seat by just one vote.
Coun Inglis, who is also the former Humberside Police Authority chairman, will face trial in Leeds in July on child sex abuse charges.
Coun Minns, who also saw an all Liberal Democrat cabinet voted in yesterday, insisted that the shambles of 2002-2003 when the Liberal Democrats were in power for a year would not be repeated.
He said: "Last time there were 29 councillors who were new councillors. Now we are a lot more experienced and tougher and have the scars of being on the council to show for it."
Last week it emerged that regional party officials had instructed Labour councillors to go into opposition.
Coun Inglis vowed to vote against an alternative Labour administration if it included arch-rivals Coun Daren Hale and Coun John Black, who has been voted on to Labour's prospective cabinet. Both were instrumental in his removal as leader.
Yesterday Coun Hale, the council's former deputy leader, said: "We believe that the Liberal Democrats have made promises that they cannot keep and unrealistic spending policies that have not been costed."
He added: "Myton residents who voted for a Labour councillor two years ago will be as bemused as we are to what Colin Inglis chose to do in putting the Liberal Democrats in power."
And Hull North Labour MP Diana Johnson said: "Aside from worries about what this change of control means for the progress of the council, I am particularly concerned that it will mean the end of Hull's pioneering free healthy school meals policy.
"It also creates an unwelcome element of uncertainty about the future of the 220m programme of investment in Hull's secondary schools."