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In a statement issued on Tuesday night he described the talks as “positive” and said he was confident the two parties could come together to provide “clear and strong leadership” for Edinburgh.The announcement comes 11 days after the votes were counted in the council elections, in which the SNP emerged as the biggest party with 19 seats while Labour took 13, the Lib Dems 12, Greens 10 and Tories nine.
Up until now, both the SNP and the Greens have expressed concern that a coaltion between them would fall short of the 32 seats needed for a majority, and would therefore be at constant risk of defeated if the opposition parties united.
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But in his statement Cllr McVey said: “I am happy to say the SNP group has begun formal negotiations with Green colleagues with the aim to form a coalition. The election saw the SNP returned as by far the biggest party, and there is broad support for the progressive ideas we have to take Edinburgh forward.
“The SNP and Green groups are having constructive discussions about how we can work together to implement the policies that we campaigned for and that our residents voted for. These meetings have been positive and focused on the further progress we can deliver for Edinburgh.
“We believe this coalition gives Edinburgh the best way forward to tackle climate, fight poverty and improve the core services we all depend on.
“The city deserves clear and strong leadership and I am confident we can provide that. We look forward to continuing discussions with Green councillors to explore how we can make sure the Capital has a fair and successful future.”
Talks have been taking place between different parties since the elections, but an SNP-Labour coalition – the only two-party combination which would produce a majority – was ruled out after Labour’s Scottish leadership and the Labour group at the council made clear they were against such a deal.
An SNP-Green partnership has been seen as an obvious option given the two parties’ deal at Holyrood.
Green group co-convener Steve Burgess said: “After a week of discussions between Greens and other political parties, Green councillors want to work positively with SNP councillors to see if we are able to form a council administration.
“There is a good amount of similar policy in both our election manifestos that could result in a greener and fairer Edinburgh. There are also areas such as action on the climate emergency, transport, housing and equalities where Greens would like to see the council go much further. That’s what we are keen to talk with the SNP councillors about this week to see if we can reach agreement on a programme that will benefit the city.
“Any such agreement would also have to be approved by the individual members of the Edinburgh Greens.”