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The National (Scotland)
The National (Scotland)
Xander Elliards

Labour look to Tory votes in bid to oust SNP from council leadership

Scottish Labour will need Tory votes to install their group leader, Jim Logue, at the head of North Lanarkshire Council. Photo: Colin Mearns

SCOTTISH Labour will hope Tory votes help them take power over one local authority from the SNP.

The news comes after Jordan Linden, the first SNP leader of North Lanarkshire Council, resigned from the post following allegations of sexual harassment. He remains a councillor.

The party has elected a new group leader – former depute leader Tracy Carragher.

A vote will be held at a full-council meeting on Thursday August 11, with the SNP hoping to install Carragher as the council’s new leader.

However, Labour councillors have plotted a takeover bid – which will require Tory votes to succeed.

The SNP group said that such a collaboration would be "an affront to democracy and once again show the depths the Labour leadership will sink to".

Jim Logue, North Lanarkshire Labour group leader, told The Sunday Mail: “This ongoing saga begs the question as to what an SNP elected member has to do to lose the party whip and be suspended or expelled.

“The Labour group will be ­submitting a ­counter proposal to regain control as the current administration has become mired in sexual and ­financial ­misconduct.”

At the council election in May, the SNP were returned as the largest group. The party won 36 of the 77 seats in North Lanarkshire.

Scottish Labour came just four seats behind, returning 32 councillors. In order to beat the SNP in a vote, they will need the support of Conservative councillors, five of whom won seats in the May elections.

There is also one councillor from the British Unionist Party, two independents, and one Green. However, reports claim the Green and the independents are likely to abstain from the vote.

As such, Labour could only take control of the council if the Tories back them.

Councillor Carragher told The National: "The numbers on the council haven't changed since May and the only way for Labour to have any prospect of winning a vote would be if they've done a deal with the Tory and BUP councillors in North Lanarkshire. Even then they can't reach a majority. 

"For Labour to attempt to take control with the numbers as they are would lead to ongoing chaos in North Lanarkshire as, even with their allies in the Tories and BUP, they still won't have the numbers to get their budget or any other business through committees. 

"It's time they accepted once and for all the decision of the people of North Lanarkshire and worked with this SNP administration to improve our local communities."

Neil Gray, the SNP minister and MSP for Airdrie and Shotts, said: “The people of North Lanarkshire need and deserve an SNP administration, now more than ever, and Councillor Tracy Carragher will be an excellent, hard-working, and dedicated leader for North Lanarkshire Council.

"The SNP form the administration the people of North Lanarkshire voted for and any proposal to elect a Labour leader of the council would just be another shameless attempt at a power grab by Labour.”

Sandy Watson, the Scottish Conservative group leader, said his councillors would not be commenting ahead of Thursday's vote.

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