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North Lanarkshire Council election: Administration bids from both main parties

By Judith Tonner

The SNP are the largest party in North Lanarkshire following the council elections, finishing with 36 seats to second-placed Labour’s 32.

Both groups now say they intend to attempt to form administrations, with the outcome now in the balance until members vote for a council leader and provost at their first meeting later this month.

Five Conservative members were elected – down from 10 at the 2017 election – along with two independents, one British Unionist and North Lanarkshire’s first-ever Green councillor.

SNP leader Jordan Linden, who retained his Bellshill seat in Friday’s penultimate declaration, told Lanarkshire Live how his team was heading straight from the count to the Civic Centre to discuss plans to form the next administration.

He said: “Clearly the SNP has won the election in North Lanarkshire, as we did in 2017; that confers with it the right to form an administration, and that’s exactly what we’re going to do.

“We’re going to exercise every sinew that we have in trying to form an administration – we have 36 seats and are some distance away from Labour, as four seats is quite a gulf in terms of electoral results and is more than last time.

“The next steps for us are to gather to assess what we’re going to do, to talk to everybody across the board – with the exception of the Conservatives, I’m ruling that out immediately.

“It’s quite early in the day but we are going to look to like-minded people and those across the board to try and form an administration. That’s our next step and we’ll see where that goes.

“We need to exercise everything we can to make sure we get an administration in North Lanarkshire that reflects what people want; and what people clearly want is an SNP administration and a clear rejection of the Tories.

“The thing that’s absolutely clear at this election has been a rejection of the Tories in North Lanarkshire and the Tory-made costs of living.

“We want to form an SNP administration and get on with delivering our policies; our task is to make that happen and it’s now down to me and the team elected to bring all of us together to build a better North Lanarkshire.”

North Lanarkshire’s election result of “no overall control” with no party reaching the 39 seats needed for an outright majority replicates the result in 2017, when the SNP gained 33 seats on election day to Labour’s 32 – but it was the latter who went on to form a minority administration for the past five years.

Labour finished second to the SNP by four seats in the North Lanarkshire election, with neither party having an outright majority (Dominic Cocozza/Airdrie and Coatbridge Advertiser)

Labour group leader Jim Logue told Lanarkshire Live after today’s count: “All 77 [councillors] have been elected as members of North Lanarkshire – there’s no one that’s more than the others and clearly [the administration] has to be a majority decision in the chamber.

“People will understand that 36 [seats] doesn’t give you a working majority so therefore it’s incumbent on all to reflect on the outcome today and take positions thereafter. Obviously people have to talk if nobody is over 39.

“I do think the Labour administration has a very impressive track record and there’s a clear vision there going forward – on social housing, schools, recycling, town centre remodelling. We’ve got very clear plans and will continue with those.”

He added of the election outcome: “I’m a bit disappointed that we lost some good, valued and experienced councillors; I’m disappointed for them as they’ve done a lot of work but that’s democracy.”

The election saw John Jo Leckie of the British Unionists win a seat in Fortissat, while Claire Williams became North Lanarkshire’s first Green councillor when she triumphed in Stepps, Chryston & Muirhead.

Former provost Barry McCulloch returned to the council in Cumbernauld East after losing his seat five years ago; while elsewhere in the town, SNP member Cathie Johnston lost her seat in Cumbernauld South, while retiring Cumbernauld North councillor Calum Currie of the Conservatives is replaced in the ward by his brother Gordon.

Labour member Peter Kelly, formerly of Fortissat, lost out in his bid to switch to represent the Airdrie North ward – and nearly a third of the members heading to the crucial first assembly of the new North Lanarkshire Council later this month will be new to their roles.

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Dive Deeper:
North Lanarkshire SNP announce bid to form next council administration
The Nationalists have been returned as the largest party, but are just short of the 39 seats required for an…
North Lanarkshire election: Airdrie and Coatbridge analysis
The area's votes reflect the overall council result and include 11 new members being chosen to join the Civic Centre…
Ultra-Unionists take seat from Tories in major upset for Douglas Ross' party
AN ultra-Unionist party has taken a seat from the Tories in a devastating upset for Douglas Ross’ party.
North Lanarkshire Council Election: Motherwell, Wishaw and Shotts analysis
The area's results see nine new members joining the local authority for the first time.
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
SNP councillors eye takeover of 'Better Together' council after topping poll
THE SNP are eyeing taking control of a formerly Labour and Tory run local authority in the aftermath of a…
Scottish Elections 2022: What time will the results be announced today?
The Tories face a tough fight to remain the 'voice of Unionism' in Scotland as the SNP continue to threaten…
Get all your news in one place