Labour take control of West Lothian Council

West Lothian Council is to be run by a minority Labour administration in a deal described as a “grubby coalition with the Tories” by the SNP, who found themselves unable to take control despite winning the most seats.

By Stuart Sommerville, LDR
Wednesday, 25th May 2022, 11:40 am
Updated Wednesday, 25th May 2022, 11:40 am

At the vote earlier this month the SNP won 15 seats to Labour’s 12 – but after failing to negotiate a deal with other parties they were unable to gather enough support to form a new administration

Labour veterans Cathy Muldoon and Lawrence Fitzpatrick were instead elected to the top positions in the new West Lothian Council on Tuesday.

The council will resemble the set-up in the last administration, with Labour running a minority administration with loose coalition support from the four Conservative councillors, the Independent Stuart Borrowman and Lib Dem Sally Pattle.

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West Lothian council leader Lawrence Fitzpatrick

The SNP had proposed an administration shared between themselves and Labour, a move they described as “fair and proportionate”.

And after the vote SNP group leader Janet Campbell, the SNP nomination for council leadership, said: “It’s another grubby coalition with the Tories. It’s a shameful day for your party.”

Labour group leader Councillor Lawrence Fitzpatrick rejected this comment, and said: “The majority votes were for parties opposed to independence and returned a majority of councillors who were opposed to independence.”

Councillor Fitzpatrick, leader of the last administration, was re-elected to the position by 18 votes to 15, and was also elected chair of the council Executive.

Councillor Muldoon, first elected in 1999 and a long time councillor for Fauldhouse and the Breich Valley, was elected as Provost by 18 votes to 15 against SNP contender the newly elected Mary Dickson.

Councillor Muldoon told the meeting of the council: “I am looking forward to working with everyone and catching up with everyone.”

She added: “I am delighted to be elected Provost of West Lothian. It is an honour and a privilege and I’m extremely proud to be elected as West Lothian’s first ever female Provost.

“I cannot wait to get started in this role and I will carry out my duties as West Lothian’s civic head with fairness and courtesy to all.”

Conservative Peter Heggie, who represents Livingston South was elected as depute Provost . He said: “It is a real privilege to hold the position of Depute Provost of West Lothian and I’m delighted to have been selected to serve this office. I look forward to representing this great county in the years ahead.”

Labour’s Kirsteen Sullivan was returned to the position of depute leader of the council for a second term.

Councillor Sullivan was also elected as vice chair of the Executive, which is the main decision making committee of the council.