Labour councillors in Falkirk have joined with the local Conservative group to oust the SNP minority administration. The Labour/Tory alliance defeated the SNP by 14 votes to 13.
The decision by Scottish Labour councillors to join with their Conservative counterparts contrasts with their decision in May last year when they opted to reject an offer from the SNP of a power sharing pact.
In May of 2017 the local elections saw the SNP emerge the largest party with twelve councillors. However it was not enough to form a majority administration. The SNP formed a minority administration with support of an independent councillor.
The alliance with the Conservatives is a headache for Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard who has been attempting to paint his party as an anti-Tory radical left wing alternative to the SNP.
Speaking in January this year, Leonard told the BBC that Aberdeen councillors who had been supended from the party after forming an alliance with the Conservatives, would remain suspended. Members of the Labour group on Aberdeen City Council were suspended en masse by former leader Kezia Dugdale after ignoring a party order not to go into administration with the Tories.
Responding to news that Labour had joined with the Tories in Falkirk, SNP MSP Stewart Stevenson tweeted: “Labour prefer Tory rule .. again. In Falkirk as in Aberdeen.”
Party colleague Michael Matheson took aim at Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard, tweeting: “Falkirk Labour Councillors have just joined up with the Tories to oust the minority SNP administration, voting 14 votes to 13. Given the silence of @LabourRichard we can only presume he approves of the Labour/Tory partnership.”
SNP MP Stewart McDonald tweeted: “Labour go into the local elections in England claiming to offer an alternative to the Tories. In Scotland, they give them the keys to town halls whenever they can.”
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