WIRRAL'S Labour group has lost power of the borough after their leader Steve Foulkes was booted out.

Lib Dems and Tories joined forces to move a vote of no confidence against Cllr Foulkes during a full council meeting on Monday night.

Conservative leader Jeff Green has now taken charge and has pledged to form an all-party cabinet in a bid to encourage unity.

However Labour have refused to be part of such an administration.

The move to oust Cllr Foulkes followed a highly-critical report which looked into alleged failings of the local authority's adult social services department.

Former council worker Mr Morton's revelations in the Globe in 2008 triggered a chain of events that led to independent consultant Anna Klonowski making a devastating assessment of his ex-employers.

But Councillor Green and Lib Dem leader Cllr Tom Harney were dissatisfied with the way the ruling Labour administration had dealt with the investigation's findings.

Moving a motion of no confidence, Cllr Green said: "We stand publicly accused of neglect, we have been found guilty of failing to believe or listen to Martin Morton and we have let him be bullied from his job.

"We have lost the respect of the public and need to work quickly to regain it."

Earlier in the evening, Lib Dems and Tories voted to adjourn a scheduled debate of the AKA report which Cllr Foulkes branded a "negation of democracy."

And deputy Labour leader Phil Davies argued that Cllr Foulkes had followed the report's recommendations and had worked hard to include all parties in dealing with its findings.

He said: "It was Steve Foulkes who set up the cabinet committee and invited both leaders to sit on this committee. It was Steve Foulkes who asked for a special meeting to debate the AKA report.

"It makes no sense to destabilise the council just a few weeks before budget. The right thing to do is to reject the motions and allow the people of Wirral to give their verdict which I know they will do very clearly in May."

After losing a vote of no confidence by 30 to 36, Cllr Foulkes nominated Cllr Davies as leader but this was rejected by council.

New leader Cllr Green promised to include all parties in decision-making and said he would delay forming a cabinet to allow Labour a “period of reflection."

Councillor Green, who commissioned the AKA report during his leadership of the council, said: "If we had not had that change of leadership, would we now know the things Anna Klonowski's report has laid bare? The answer is no.

He added: "We are all in this together and we can put things right. As a matter of priority, we said we would speak to Martin Morton and I expect that by next time we meet, he should be working for Wirral Council again."

Speaking after the meeting, Cllr Foulkes said the decision to remove him as leader was "naked electoral politics” by the opposition groups.

Councillor Foulkes, whose group had proposed a budget before full council met, said: "I have never questioned the seriousness of the AKA reports, or the need to respond positively to them with a major improvement programme.

"However, tonight's events have shown that from the beginning this move by the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats has always really been about naked electoral politics.

"Now, once more, the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats have joined hands to form what amounts to a new coalition.

"I have always been clear that the council is more important than any one individual and that if antagonism to me was blocking real progress, I would stand down.

"At a time when the council is in the middle of a major improvement programme, with external advisors on site, and budget cabinet is just a week away, this is wrecking politics of the worst kind.

"Speaking personally, it doesn't matter what happens to me. What matters is the quality of services delivered to the people of Wirral.

"We will not be taking up any places on a three party cabinet as both parties know full well.

"We will move into constructive opposition. We will, however, continue to play a full part on the Improvement Board."