Sturgeon ‘open’ to replicating Greens deal at council level

Nicola Sturgeon has said she is amenable to replicating the powersharing agreement at Holyrood in council chambers, but will leave decisions up to local leaders.

By Craig Paton
Saturday, 7th May 2022, 4:18 pm

Last year, the SNP entered into an agreement with the Scottish Greens, bringing their co-leaders into government as junior ministers and securing a majority in the Scottish Parliament.

Given the proportional nature of Scotland's voting system in the local council elections, just two of the 32 local authorities returned a majority for any single party – Dundee for the SNP, and West Dunbartonshire for Labour.

The Greens increased their council count by 16 to 35, including electing more than ten councillors in Glasgow and Edinburgh, beating Glasgow City Council leader Susan Aitken in first preference votes in her Langside ward, leaving the door open for a similar deal to be struck with SNP groups to secure control of Scotland's two largest cities.

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When asked about council agreements, the First Minister said: "[It’s] for local council groups to determine what's in the best interests of the areas they serve, but I'm in a partnership agreement in government in Holyrood with the Greens, so clearly I'd be very open to seeing that replicated in council areas in Scotland.

"But I think it's important that these decisions are driven locally and that we see parties that are prepared to recognise where they disagree but focus more on where they agree [and] come together to try to put arrangements in place that are in the best interest of the areas they serve."

The First Minister was in Dundee on Saturday May 7, celebrating her party's victory with councillors elected to serve in one of just two majority administrations in Scotland.

The First Minister with the SNP's new councillors in Dundee. Picture: Lesley Martin/PA Wire.

Ms Sturgeon heralded the result as a "big, big vote of confidence in the leadership the SNP provides in Scotland". She added: "It doesn't come easy, we don't take these results for granted, we win these elections because we work hard, not just at elections but between elections, to provide good leadership and good governance for the people of Scotland.”

The First Minister also hailed the achievement after her party has been in power in Scotland for 15 years, saying voters see "a lot of negativity" coming from opposition parties.