Liberal Democrat and independent councillors have retained control of Cornwall Council after the Conservative group failed to reach an agreement with any party despite winning most seats in recent elections.

Adam Paynter, the leader of the Liberal Democrat group and the member for the Launceston North and North Petherwin electoral division, has been elected as council leader, while Julian German, the independent councillor for the Roseland, was appointed as deputy leader.

The two groups began negotiations last week after the Conservatives, who had won more seats than any other party but not enough to forma majority in the council chamber, failed to reach an agreement with the independents over sharing power.

Mr Paynter was proposed for the post by independent group leader Andrew Mitchell and seconded by Liberal Democrat Malcolm Brown.

He thanked members for putting their trust in him and said he would work with all members irrespective of the party they represented to do the very best for Cornwall.

He said: “This is a new council with new talent and will be different from the one it replaces.

“I will lead by example to ensure that we balance the fundamental values of liberty, equality and community. I will be accessible and transparent. I will act with honesty and integrity. I will build on the ambition of the previous council to close the gap for residents - to improve their life opportunities.”

He promised to protect services for the vulnerable, increase funding for adult social care, invest in 1,000 council houses and extend the living wage to all council contracts.

He also said he wanted to focus on infrastructure, and create 38,000 jobs over the next 13 years.

He added: “We live in difficult financial times and I will ensure we utilise our finances as well as possible, I will lead a robust fairer funding campaign. I will also continue to seek to do things differently in order to preserve services.”

Mr German told councillors: "I am humbled to serve as deputy leader of Cornwall Council. I will do my very best for the residents of Cornwall."

Penryn West independent councillor Mary May was unanimously elected as the chairman of the council, having served as vice chairman during the previous administration.

She told colleagues she was honoured to be elected, and formally thanked the outgoing chairman Ann Kerridge for her hard work and commitment over the past four years.

The Hilary Frank, the Liberal Democrat member for Saltash South, was named vice chairman and thanked colleagues for their support, saying she would work hard to be fair and inclusive and support the new chairman in her role.

The remaining eight members of the cabinet will be announced at a later date.