Labour to block SNP taking control in Edinburgh

Cammy Day says he is asking the SNP and Tories to back the motion too. Picture: Ian Georgeson
Cammy Day says he is asking the SNP and Tories to back the motion too. Picture: Ian Georgeson
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LABOUR will today team up with the Greens and Liberal Democrats to stop the SNP taking charge of the Capital.

The Nationalists declared earlier this week they would try to form a minority administration by appointing committee conveners on the understanding they were temporary positions until the city’s Labour group gets approval from party bosses to go into coalition with the SNP.

But now Labour has agreed an alternative plan with the Greens and Lib Dems which will be put to today’s full council meeting.

Together the three parties have enough votes to defeat the SNP’s bid for control. Only the Tories siding with the SNP could prevent that outcome.

The joint Labour-Green-Lib Dem motion calls for the chief executive to draw up plans for a new, streamlined committee structure which would be consulted upon among all the parties and agreed at the end of June. Labour group leader Cammy Day said: “We want to hold off on appointing the committees and get the right structure, which is modern and fit for purpose.”

Appointments would go ahead today to the key committees which deal with licensing and planning, though rather than appointing conveners they would elect a chair for any meeting which had to be held.

And the motion also sets out how the chief executive would consult with the leaders of all five parties over any urgent decisions which had to be taken in the meantime – an idea the Greens had put forward.

Cllr Day said he was asking the SNP and the Tories to back the motion too.

The SNP is now the largest party on the council with 19 seats, while the Tories have 18, Labour 12, Greens eight and Lib Dems six.

Labour has been accused of delaying a decision on a coalition in order to avoid attacks by political opponents during the general election campaign for throwing their lot in with the SNP.

But Cllr Day said: “We want to make sure any coalition we have has the right structure and is fit for the future. To delay a couple of weeks to make sure of that seems the right thing to do.

“I want us to be part of governing the city; we have a 
process we need to go through; and I hope we can progress that as quickly as possible.”

Senior Green councillor Gavin Corbett said his party’s plan for all five parties to be involved allowed time-critical decisions to be made and ensured “proper shared leadership” over the next three weeks or so.

He said: “This week has been a stark reminder that there are more important things in the world than political positioning.”

SNP group leader Adam McVey said: “The SNP is ready to form an administration and we’re disappointed other parties have effectively blocked our attempt. Our position has been consistent that the Capital needs clear leadership which can get to work addressing issues like housing, social care and transport. It’s unfortunate that at this stage any attempt by us to form an administration would be voted down by the other parties.”