THE Labour group on Southampton City Council is wooing the Liberal Democrats to help it form the next administration.

It hopes to have top-level talks in the next few days to come up with a deal that will allow it to take power on the hung council.

The local elections last week saw Labour and Conservatives taking two seats each off the Lib Dems, leaving them both on 18.

With just 12 seats, the Lib Dems who have run the city council as a minority administration for the past four years, were effectively deposed and made kingmakers.

Speaking after a regular meeting of her councillors, Labour group leader June Bridle said: "The Labour group is very concerned we should be doing all we can to form an administration. We shall be doing that in the next couple of days."

Cllr Bridle said she had spoken to outgoing Lib Dem council leader Adrian Vinson and would be "meeting to discuss the issues".

"We have given them information that we would like them to consider and they will come back to us", she said, although she declined to spell out the details.

Meanwhile the Tories are understood to have invited the Lib Dems to come up with proposals that would allow them to form the next administration.

Cllr Bridle added that a pre-planned meeting of the party leaders and council chiefs yesterday also averted any games that could be played over the selection of the next mayor.

He will have a casting vote that could decide a tied vote for the next council leader.

Cllr Bridle said the convention that Labour sheriff, Cllr Stephen Barnes-Andrews, would be made mayor was endorsed by all parties.

Earlier this year, the Lib Dems used the vote of the mayor, Cllr John Slade, to pass its budget. It was opposed by Labour, while the Conservatives abstained.