Labour wins Tory backing to oust the SNP from City of Edinburgh Council
The SNP has lost control of City of Edinburgh Council after Labour won the backing of the Tories to form a minority administration.
The council has been run by an SNP-Labour coalition for the past five years, with no party winning an outright majority at the 2017 election.
The SNP won the largest share of the vote earlier this month, returning 19 councillors against 13 for Labour, 12 for the Liberal Democrats, 10 for the Greens and nine for the Conservatives.
While the SNP group had been keen to form another joint administration with Labour, the latter today secured the backing of the Tories and Liberal Democrats to form a minority administration with Cammy Day as leader.
Day said he was "delighted and extremely honoured" to have reached the agreement, adding that he is "confident our collaborative approach will lead to far more consensual and co-operative decision-making" and that he "looks forward to working closely across all parties".
Members of the Liberal Democrat and Conservative groups have been appointed as conveners and vice-conveners of a number of council committees, including the licensing and development management sub-committees.
It comes after local SNP MSPs Angus Robertson, Ash Regan, Ben Macpherson and Gordon MacDonald yesterday joined forces with Edinburgh MPs Joanna Cherry, Tommy Sheppard and Deidre Brock to write to Day seeking “urgent clarification" as to Labour’s intentions.
They noted that the SNP was “by far the largest party elected at May’s elections” and that its group on the council would be open to “constructive talks” with Labour regarding continuing to run a minority administration.
They added that it would be “unthinkable” for Labour to form an administration with the support of the Conservatives.
Today, SNP group leader Adam McVey, who led the council during the SNP-Labour coalition, said Labour had “overridden the wishes” of the people of Edinburgh who “could not have more strongly rejected the Tories at the council elections” by returning half the number of Conservative members as they did the last time around.
“The Tories have inflicted over a decade of austerity on families across our city and are now responsible for a cost of living crisis which is crippling households across the country,” he said.
“It beggars belief that Labour would reward them for that by inviting them to share power on our council.”
Meanwhile, the council also ratified the appointment of Lib Dem member Robert Aldridge, the authority’s longest-serving councillor, as Lord Provost.
He said he was “honoured to have been appointed” adding that he loves the city and that it will be “a privilege to represent Scotland’s wonderful capital – and its people – both locally and worldwide”.
“Drawing on my experience as a councillor and my time as a bailie, I look forward to being a proud civic lead for the world's best capital city and work to make sure Edinburgh remains a leading light on the global stage,” he added.
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