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

SNP lose control of Scots council as British Unionist Party casts deciding vote

North Lanarkshire Council will have a Labour administration after the SNP lost its grip on power

LABOUR have won power on North Lanarkshire Council, just three months after the SNP took control for the first time.

The party managed to install their group leader, Jim Logue, at the head of the local authority thanks to a single vote from British Unionist Party (BUP) councillor John Jo Leckie.

They were also helped by the defection of Michael Coyle, a representative for Airdrie South, who switched from the SNP to Labour just ahead of the crunch meeting on Thursday.

The change of administration happened in the wake of former SNP leader Jordan Linden’s resignation.

Linden (above) stepped down as both group and council head after historic allegations of sexual misconduct were made public.

He had been elected leader in North Lanarkshire after the SNP won 36 seats out of 77 in the local elections in May. 

A motion had been proposed by the SNP group to have their new leader, Tracy Carragher, elected to replace Linden at the head of the council.

However, Scottish Labour put in their own bid to have Jim Logue, their group leader, installed at the top of the local authority.

The Labour amendment passed with 38 votes compared to the SNP motion's 37, with one abstention.

Broken down, the amendment won 31 votes from Labour councillors, five from the Tory group, one from the BUP, and one from SNP defector Coyle.

The SNP had their own group's 35 votes, plus one Green and one independent.

The second independent on the council abstained, while one Labour councillor was not present at the vote.

SNP group leader Carragher said: “Local people who voted in May’s election will understandably feel aggrieved at this, but my concern and the SNP group’s focus will be on ensuring the continued delivery of the best possible services in North Lanarkshire.”

Logue, who had led the council from 2016 until May, said after the vote: “It’s a privilege to be elected once more as leader and I am grateful to my colleagues for putting their trust in me.

“While I did not anticipate being in this position, it is clear that there is much to do quickly. 

“I am determined to lead an administration which serves all the people of North Lanarkshire, and the most important part of that at this point is ensuring we are doing everything we can to mitigate the cost of living crisis for our residents.

“This is not something the council can solve alone, but it is essential we move fast to ensure all the policies we can bring to bear, and all council services, are aligned to support people wherever possible."

Tory MSP Miles Briggs said: “The Scottish Conservatives were very clear during the local election campaign earlier this year that we were keen to work with other pro-Union parties to try to lock the SNP out of power in Scotland’s councils.

“The opportunity to do so presented itself in North Lanarkshire – in the wake of the resignation of the former SNP council leader – so the five Conservative councillors chose to vote with Labour on that basis."

A council meeting to elect a new provost, following the resignation of SNP Councillor Agnes Magowan due to personal family circumstances, will be held in due course.

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