WIRRAL'S Labour group has "firmly rejected" calls from the council's new leader to join an all-party cabinet.

Group leader Cllr Steve Foulkes, who was ousted as council leader on Monday night, has confirmed that Labour will not be part of the local authority’s new administration.

It comes after Tory leader Cllr Jeff Green today announced a new cabinet made up of two Lib-Dems and four Conservatives – reserving four places for Labour councillors.

He had wanted all parties to work together to "regain the respect" of local people following the damning Anna Klonowski report into the failings of adult social services.

However Cllr Foulkes has now reiterated that his group will be moving into "constructive opposition."

In a letter responding to Cllr Green's request to join the new cabinet, Cllr Foulkes said: "We have always made it quite clear that it is Labour party policy not to take part in shared administrations where the numbers mean you will be consistently outvoted and this has always been the position of the Labour Group.

"On the one occasion where we agreed to a shared cabinet where the numbers allowed for individual portfolio holders to have the casting vote for their area, it proved impossible to work constructively with you and your colleagues because you acted like an opposition group within the cabinet.

"Throughout this year the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats have voted together on the vast majority of issues at council meetings.

"Our job as a minority administration has been made extremely difficult by a de facto coalition between the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats working against us."

Councillor Foulkes added that recent "personal attacks" made towards him through blogs and leaflets meant Labour members would feel "deeply uncomfortable" sitting on a cabinet with Lib-Dems and Conservatives.

However he said Labour would continue to play a part in discussions surrounding the improvement plan which looks at criticisms made in the AKA investigation.

As well as responsibility for finance, Cllr Green has also taken up the portfolio of crisis-hit adult social services and has made the following appointments to the cabinet:

Corporate Resources: Lib Dem leader Cllr Tom Harney;

Culture, Tourism and Leisure: Conservative deputy leader Cllr Lesley Rennie;

Streetscene and Transport Services: Lib Dem deputy leader Cllr Dave Mitchell;

Children's Services and Lifelong Learning: Cllr Sheila Clarke;

Community and Customer Engagement: Cllr Ian Lewis.

Portfolios regarding environment, housing, public health and planning had been reserved for nominations from the Labour group.

Councillor Green said: "Wirral Council needs all parties to work together and to put the interests of the borough first.

"The shocking findings of the Klonowski Report highlighted serious failings in the way the council has been run.

"More of the same is no longer an option and that's why I have included adult social services in my responsibilities as leader.

"We must also remember that the taxpayers in Wirral, who have seen their Council Tax double in recent years, are being hit hard by pay freezes and rising prices and we must do more to help."