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Deal or no deal? Councils set for power talks in aftermath of local elections

The local election results were revealed yesterday.
The local election results were revealed yesterday.

Scotland’s newly elected councillors are braced for talks to settle who runs authorities where no overall political party secured a majority in Friday’s election results.

Nearly all of the country’s 32 local councils ended with no overall control in some tight make-or-break contests.

It means local politicians will need to work together to form coalitions or agree on minority administrations.

The SNP again emerged as the country’s largest party overall as they gained seats, while the Tory vote plummeted in most areas.

Recap on our election live blog HERE

The nationalists managed to win a majority in Dundee, and crucially leapfrogged the Conservatives as the largest party in Perth and Kinross.

Unionist rivals and independent politicians may try to lock the SNP out of power in areas where they won the most seats.

The nationalists emerged as the biggest party in more than a dozen local authorities including Fife, but are not guaranteed to end up in government in some of them.

‘Moral authority’

However, attempts to keep them out could be hampered by Anas Sarwar’s insistence Labour will strike no formal coalition deals with other parties.

Controversially, Labour councillors reached an agreement to work with the Tories in Aberdeen five years ago, despite the SNP winning the most seats locally.

They are also in power-sharing agreements with Nicola Sturgeon’s party in several local councils.

The SNP were the biggest party in Angus, and said they now have the “moral authority” to take control.

Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar.

What does it mean for national leaders?

It was a successful day for Mr Sarwar, as his party made gains on their disastrous 2017 showing and overtook the Conservatives.

He insisted that Labour was “back on the pitch” and set his sights on the SNP going forward.

The Scottish Greens and Lib Dems also made significant gains and could prove to be key players in councils where the vote was split.

Douglas Ross admitted the partygate scandal hurt his party as he urged Boris Johnson to listen to the anger of voters.

He said many Tory supporters had chosen to stay home due to their fury over the prime minister breaking lockdown rules.


Who won the council elections?

  • Angus: SNP minority of 13 out of 28 seats
  • Dundee: SNP majority
  • Fife: SNP minority of 34 out of 75 seats
  • Perth and Kinross: SNP minority of 16 out of 40 seats

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