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SNP furious as Labour do deal to take control of Edinburgh city council

Labour will run the City of Edinburgh Council with Cammy Day as leader (City of Edinburgh Council/PA)
Labour will run the City of Edinburgh Council with Cammy Day as leader (City of Edinburgh Council/PA)

The SNP have reacted with fury after Scottish Labour agreed a deal to run Edinburgh’s city council.

Labour will lead the city as a minority administration after Liberal Democrats and Conservative councillors backed their proposals to run the capital on Thursday.

Labour’s Cammy Day, the new council leader, said he was “delighted and extremely honoured” an agreement was reached.

He said: “I’m confident our collaborative approach will lead to far more consensual and co-operative decision-making and I look forward to working closely across all parties, delivering positive changes and policies for the good of our great capital city and its residents.”

His party were 19 seats short of a majority at the City Chambers, but with the backing of the Liberal Democrats and the Tories, they had 34 of the council’s 63 seats and were able to block an SNP-Green deal.

Two Labour councillors abstained from the vote, but the amendment to hand control to Mr Day’s party was carried by 32 votes to 29.

Adam McVey, the ousted SNP council leader, described the deal as a “right-wing coalition” which he pledged to hold to account.

In the May council election, the SNP remained the largest party with 19 councillors.

The Lib Dems doubled their councillor count to 12.

The Scottish Greens added two councillors, taking them to 10 members, while the Scottish Conservatives suffered heavy losses, with voters cutting their councillor count in half to just nine in City Chambers.

Mr McVey said that “people across Edinburgh could not have more strongly rejected the Tories at the council elections but Labour are happy to override their wishes and hand the Tories power in our city”.

“The Tories have inflicted over a decade of austerity on families across our city and are now responsible for a cost-of-living crisis which is crippling households across the country. It beggars belief that Labour would reward them for that by inviting them to share power on our council,” the Leith councillor said.

“It is truly insulting to people across our city for Labour to try and hide the deal they are doing.

“If they are too ashamed to admit it, then maybe they should reflect on that and not try to trick people into believing their spin. This is a coalition and the SNP will hold Labour, the Tories and Lib Dems to account.”

As part of the deal with Labour, the Tories and the LibDems will win control of key non-political posts on the authority, including the licensing and development management sub-committees.

Also at the meeting, Liberal Democrat group leader Councillor Robert Aldridge was appointed city’s 248th lord provost.

He will serve as Edinburgh’s civil head where he will convene all further meetings of the council and will represent the city as part of a variety of organisations including the Fringe Festival and the Royal Edinburgh Mile Tattoo.

He has served as councillor for the Drum Brae and Gyle ward for 38 years – making him the council’s longest serving member.

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