Labour-SNP Coalition to Control Edinburgh City Council

Submitted by edg on Tue, 8 May '12 7.36am

The Labour Party and the Scottish National Party have signed an agreement to work together to run the City of Edinburgh Council, it was announced yesterday evening.

The agreement follows much behind-the-scenes negotiations following the local government elections on 3 May where Edinburgh Labour won the most seats, 20 out of 58, but not a majority.

The Scottish Nationalist Party won 18 seats, the Conservatives 11, the Green Party 6, and the depleted Liberal Democrats fell to 3 seats.

Following the election, Edinburgh Labour leader Andrew Burns said he was open to a rainbow alliance of all parties, however a coalition council always seemed more likely.

At one point, Labour and Conservatives forming an alliance of unionist parties seemed a possibility. However, local issues and a similar economic platform have held sway over the Scottish independence referendum in 2014 with Labour and SNP joining forces.

While the two largest parties in the new Edinburgh Council have a clear majority, leaders of both parties said they hoped to continue to work with the other groups.

Andrew Burns, Labour Group leader, said: "After listening to the will of the electorate and after intense negotiations over the last few days I am delighted that we have managed to reach an agreement to lead the city of Edinburgh for the next five years. Edinburgh electors gave a very clear mandate to Labour and the SNP, delivering 38 out of 58 councillors. A Labour-SNP coalition will now provide the stability and certainty needed to move Edinburgh forward."

Steve Cardownie, SNP Group leader, said: "The SNP looks forward to working in partnership with the Labour group with a progressive and exciting agenda to meet the challenges the city faces. With this strong partnership we are best placed to ensure Edinburgh serves its citizens well and emerges from the recession quickly and strongly. Our groups' economic policies are almost one and the same and we are confident they will deliver for the people of the city."

Chief Executive Sue Bruce, who was notified shortly after the agreement was sealed, said she looked forward to working with the new council over the next five years.

"A successful Council needs a partnership between the elected members who set the direction and policies, and the officers charged with putting that into practice. Together, our responsibility is to ensure that we take Edinburgh forward and make a real difference to the people who live and work here."

Labour first

The coalition parties have agreed the following division of positions: the Labour Party will nominate candidates for the positions of Leader and Lord Provost; the Scottish National Party will nominate candidates for the positions of Deputy Leader and Deputy Lord Provost.

The first meeting of the new Council is on Thursday 17 May, at which it will appoint a new Lord Provost and agree positions for Deputy Lord Provost, Council Leader and Deputy Leader.