Labour in talks with Tories over two more council deals

Local parties in discussions about power-sharing in North Lanarkshire and West Lothian.

Deals: Labour leader Kezia Dugdale has suspended nine Aberdeen councillors. <strong>SWNS</strong>
Deals: Labour leader Kezia Dugdale has suspended nine Aberdeen councillors. SWNS

Talks are under way for two further local government deals between Labour and the Conservatives, STV News has learned.

The Labour group on West Lothian Council has placed a formal request for a coalition with the Conservatives to the party’s ruling Scottish Executive Committee (SEC).

STV News understands in return for their support, Conservative councillors will be handed convener posts on a number of committees in West Lothian.

The SEC met on Wednesday evening to examine the proposals and rejected the West Lothian coalition deal. 

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The local party is also in discussions to form a minority administration in North Lanarkshire with the support of the Conservatives.

In return for the support, the Conservatives are set to gain the convener of the audit and scrutiny committee.

A Conservative official told STV News talks were still under way on Wednesday evening ahead of Thursday’s vote but the party’s ten councillors are “99.9% certain to vote for the working arrangement”.

Scottish Labour group leader Jim Logue said “For the avoidance of any doubt, there is absolutely no intention to establish a formal coalition agreement with any party.

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“Labour is committed to forming a minority administration to build on our impressive track record in North Lanarkshire and we are asking all councillors to support that.”

Labour was returned as the second largest party on both councils in this month’s election.

The SNP won the most seats in both local authorities but failed to gain a majority.

The SEC ruled against a coalition with the Conservatives in Aberdeen on Tuesday evening but the local councillors ignored the body’s wishes and agreed a deal.

All nine of the councillors were suspended by the party after they refused to pull out of the deal.

Party leader Kezia Dugdale said: “Labour cannot do any deal with another party if it would result in further austerity being imposed on local communities.

“Tory austerity risks hurting so many families in Aberdeen, and the Labour Party simply will not stand for that.”

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A senior Labour source told STV News: “We have ended up in the grotesque chaos of a Labour SEC – a Labour SEC – scuttling around Scotland handing out suspension notices to its own councillors.”


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