Deal be­tween par­ties un­likely

SNP head up mi­nor­ity ad­min­is­tra­tion

Rutherglen Reformer - - News - Ni­cola Find­lay

The SNP look set to lead a mi­nor­ity ad­min­is­tra­tion at South La­nark­shire Coun­cil.

The party be­came the big­gest group in the re­gion for the first time but fell six seats short of an over­all ma­jor­ity.

New group leader John Ross has con­tacted Labour and the Lib­eral Democrats to dis­cuss a coali­tion, but both par­ties have said there would be no deal.

A spe­cial meet­ing will be held on May 12 with May 24 the dead­line for form­ing and elect­ing a new ad­min­is­tra­tion.

The SNP won 27 seats with Labour win­ning 21. The Con­ser­va­tives claimed 14, the Lib­eral Democrats took one and one in­de­pen­dent was elected.

Coun­cil­lor Ross, who is likely to be the next coun­cil leader, ad­mit­ted the ela­tion of se­cur­ing the most seats was tinged with dis­ap­point­ment they could not gain an over­all ma­jor­ity.

The Hamil­ton South rep­re­sen­ta­tive said: “We feel we have a pro­gres­sive man­i­festo to im­prove the lives of ev­ery­one in South La­nark­shire.

“But it is im­por­tant par­ties work to­gether and it is im­por­tant for the peo­ple of South La­nark­shire to get things up and run­ning as quickly as pos­si­ble.

“We con­tacted Labour, the Lib­eral Demo­crat and in­de­pen­dent ask­ing if they would like to join us if they were like-minded.

“Fri­day was fab­u­lous and it would have been even bet­ter if we had se­cured the ex­tra seats needed for a ma­jor­ity and we wouldn’t be in this po­si­tion.

“Nev­er­the­less, we want to make the coun­cil more open and trans­par­ent and not have so many meet­ings be­hind closed doors.”

How­ever, he ad­mit­ted chal­lenges lie ahead, es­pe­cially the strain on pub­lic fi­nances.

“We will face as many con­straints as the pre­vi­ous ad­min­is­tra­tion but we need to look at how the fi­nances have been han­dled up un­til now and we need to see ex­actly what the fi­nances are be­fore we can see how good or bad a po­si­tion South La­nark­shire is in,” said Mr Ross.

“We also want to make sure no part of South La­nark­shire or com­mu­nity feels they aren’t be­ing in­cluded. There is, at the mo­ment, a dis­con­nect be­tween what hap­pens at the HQ in Hamil­ton and lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties. We aim to be an in­clu­sive body.”

A de­fi­ant Labour group leader, Gerry Con­very, said: “We aren’t do­ing any deals with any­one.

“We will look at ev­ery is­sue on its own mer­its and vote ac­cord­ingly on that ba­sis.

“With both coun­cil­lors pre­vi­ously elected and new coun­cil­lors we feel hon­oured and priv­i­leged to serve the peo­ple of South La­nark­shire.

“Our main pri­or­ity will be de­liv­er­ing ser­vices for the peo­ple of South La­nark­shire and that is of great im­por­tance to ev­ery Labour coun­cil­lor elected.”

Ruther­glen South Lib­eral Demo­crat Robert Brown, said a deal was “un­likely.”

He added: “I feel the proper place for the Lib­eral Democrats on this coun­cil is likely to be in the op­po­si­tion, hold­ing the coun­cil ad­min­is­tra­tion to ac­count and stand­ing up for the in­ter­ests of the peo­ple of Ruther­glen.”

Ready to go Coun­cil­lor John Ross gives the thumbs up with his SNP col­leagues, but they will be form­ing a mi­nor­ity ad­min­is­tra­tion at coun­cil HQ in Al­mada Street, Hamil­ton

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