INDEPENDENT Mark Gray last night said he remained undecided on whether he would back the Conservatives on Oxfordshire County Council.

The Benson and Cholsey councillor is at the centre of a power struggle after the Tories failed to gain enough seats last week’s elections to govern alone.

Along with Bicester West county councillor Les Sibley, another independent, they are seeking his support to form a majority on the authority.

Mr Sibley has said he is likely to join the Conservatives. But, despite meeting with Tory leader Mr Hudspeth in person on Monday night, Mr Gray said he had yet to make any commitments.

He added yesterday: “There is no real rush at this stage and I would like to be sure that if I make a decision it is the right thing for everyone.

“We need a strong, functioning council but on the right terms.”

When asked what terms he was seeking from Mr Hudspeth, the councillor replied: “I think I can bring something different to the council. I have a grounding in community politics, not party politics.

“I need to think about what is on offer.”

The Conservatives currently hold 31 seats but need 32 for a majority. With Mr Sibley’s support they would have this but it is understood they are also seeking Mr Gray’s support for further stability.

Last night Liberal Democrat boss Richard Webber also confirmed his group had ruled out any coalition with Labour.

He said: “Our view is the numbers do not stack up. So it is now Ian Hudspeth’s call.”