Jubilant Labour group leader Steve Foulkes - elated to emerge from the elections as Wirral's biggest political group - has extended an invitation to the Liberal Democrats to unite to form the next administration.

With five gains and 29 councillors Labour remain five seats short of overall control of the council. Over the past 12 months a coalition of the Tories and Lib Dems has held political sway in Wirral.

Cllr Foulkes blasted: "The Tory/Lib Dem coalition is dead and I don't think it will be long before the national coalition falls apart.

"I would make a serious appeal for the Liberal Democrat members to reconsider. The Labour Party is a broad church and the door is open to them to join us to form an administration. All they have to do is talk to me."

With the Tories remaining on 27 seats the Liberal Democrats still hold the balance of power despite losing four of their 14 seats.

Having lost leader Simon Holbrook to Labour in Prenton the Lib Dems have the added pressure of electing a new group leader.

Two veteran councillors could be among the contenders – Cllr Dave Mitchell has an unbroken run of 30 years in local politics and former leader Cllr Phil Gilchrist who was first elected in Eastham in 1977, but was out of the political scene for two years.

Cross party talks will follow group annual meetings over the weekend with the Liberal Democrats having a crucial decision to make on whether to stay with the Tories or switch to Labour.

Neither Cllr Mitchell nor Cllr Gilchrist was prepared to speculate on the outcome of the weekend meetings and consultations.

Tory leader Cllr Jeff Green said he was pleased his party had entered the elections with 27 members and ended with the same number.

He paid tribute to Simon Holbrook and said he had "done an excellent job for Wirral."