A surprise show of co-operation between the Royal Borough's new Conservative leader and a newly elected youthful Lib Dem opposition councillor could mean a major change to recent fractious political divisions within the council.

There was visible surprise at Tuesday's council meeting when Cllr Andrew Johnson agreed only moments after being elected as the new leader, to refer plans to spend an extra £405,000 on new office systems for council staff back to officers for further consideration. This followed a call from 20-year-old opposition Lib Dem councillor Joshua Reynolds.

Cllr Johnson had already promised in his acceptance speech as leader 'a slightly different style from my predecessor' and called for a council that would be 'decisive, purposeful but also one that listens and finds innovative and creative ways to engage'.

Cllr Reynolds promptly tested this by speaking out against an officers' report which recommended spending an extra £405,000 on new work place equipment, on top of the £530,000 already agreed. He said it would be wrong to make such a long term financial commitment to systems that might need upgrading within four or five years.

He said after the meeting: "It is overkill to commit to all the bells and whistles."

Cllr Reynolds is a rising star in the Lib Dem party - he went to school in Maidenhead and has been selected as his party's prospective parliamentary candidate to stand against Theresa May at the next General Election. He is 20 and has called for younger people to get involved in politics.

The new Royal Borough leader has been similarly precocious. Now 40 and a father of two, he is a former member of Hammersmith and Fulham Council where he rose to be a member of the cabinet and at 28 the country's youngest mayor.

He once listed his favourite hobby as taking part in motorcycle trials.

After the meeting he said he had agreed to delay a decision on the report because it needed more work - and was not worried about the request coming from an opposition Lib Dem councillor.

He said: "Obviously there are fundamental differences between our two parties but where there is a consensus there is no reason why we should not work together."