Whitehill & Bordon Community Party leader Cllr Andy Tree has become East Hampshire District Council’s deputy leader as part of an agreement which keeps the Conservatives running the authority.

But Cllr Tree claimed the arrangement still allowed his party’s six councillors – who hold the balance of power between the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats – to think and act independently of the council’s two biggest parties.

He said: “A standard coalition where we would have to side with Conservatives or Lib Dems on every decision, and be a ‘poodle’ like Lib Dems were to Conservatives at national level between 2010 and 2015, was ultimately not acceptable to us – and clearly not acceptable to fellow residents who kindly gave us feedback through social media and other channels. 

“Crucially the deal agreed allows us to vote against any Conservative policy at East Hampshire District Council we feel would be detrimental to Whitehill, Bordon, Lindford and Greatham. 

“This means we are not in a traditional coalition or offering blind ‘confidence and supply’, instead keeping our independent ability to represent you and vote on what we think best for our community, which is what our group is all about.”

Cllr Tree also has a cabinet portfolio to oversee East Hampshire District Council matters in the Whitehill & Bordon area.