Council election reaction: SNP set to take control in Midlothian

The SNP are set to take control of Midlothian Council after returning as the biggest party in the elections.
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Both the SNP and Labour gained an extra seat as the Conservatives lost two, splitting the local authority with eight SNP, seven Labour and just three Conservative councillors returned.

Derek Milligan, who led the council’s minority Labour administration, which had been in charge for the last five years despite not being the biggest party, said it would now be down to the SNP to decide what happens next.

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And he pledged to work with the newly elected administration, insisting Labour would not be “in opposition”.

The eight SNP councillors elected to Midlothian Council.The eight SNP councillors elected to Midlothian Council.
The eight SNP councillors elected to Midlothian Council.

He said: “It’s been a positive result for Labour, we have an additional seat. The Conservatives are paying the price for partygate. The anger felt by people over the breaking of the rules is clear.

“There will be discussions between the three parties to see what we can do, but the SNP is the biggest party and we will be looking to them to take the lead.

“We do not intend to go into opposition like in Westminster. We will not oppose things just to oppose them.

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“There are hard decisions to be made and we need to ensure we protect our services.

"Where we can find agreement we will work together and be pragmatic.”

SNP group leader Kelly Parry believes her party should take charge and that she should be leader of Midlothian Council, but also talked about working together.

She said: “The SNP won the most votes and the most seats in Midlothian so it’s a fair reflection to say the SNP is the biggest party in Midlothian and it is right to form the next administration.

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"We are talking to the Labour group at the moment to see what their lines are. Which seem to be very controlled by their national committee.

"The Labour councillors that I have spoken to are keen to speak to us and we have a lot of similar ideas about how to do things here in Midlothian, so it makes sense to work together. But we will have to wait and see.

"I had a good chat with Derek Milligan at the weekend which went very well, but I think they are just waiting to hear from their national executive.

"Our view would be that as I’m group leader it would be our intention to put me forward for leader of the council, but that is decided by all councillors, so not a given.”

The full list of councillors elected are:

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Penicuik ward: Debbi McCall (SNP) FIrst Preference vote (FPv) 1,639, Willie McEwen (Labour) FPv 1,234, Connor McManus (SNP) FPv 589.

Bonnyrigg ward: Dianne Alexander (SNP) FPv 2,117, Derek Milligan (Labour) FPv 2,428, David Virgo (Conservatives) FPv 1,012.

Dalkeith ward: Colin Cassidy (SNP) FPv 1.012, Stephen Curran (Labour) FPv 1,163, Margot Russell (Labour) FPv 816.

Midlothian West Ward: Russell Imrie (Labour) FPv 1,645, Kelly Parry (SNP) FPv 1,126, Pauline Winchester (Conservatives) FPv 1,144.

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Midlothian East ward: Stuart McKenzie (SNP) FPv 1,045, Bryan Pottinger (Labour) FPv 1,473, Peter Smaill (Conservatives) FPv 1,106.

Midlothian South ward: Douglas Bowen (SNP) FPv 1,005, Kelly Drummond (Labour) FPv 1,243, Ellen Scott (SNP) FPv 1,045.