SNP damns “betrayal” of Aberdeen as Labour joins Tory coalition council

Nathanael Williams

A Tory led coalition takes control of Aberdeen City Council with the support of Labour and independents

A COALITION DEAL struck between the Tories, Labour and an independent councillor on Aberdeen City council has been damned as a betrayal of the city by the SNP and has shown up divisions between the central Scottish Labour party line and local Aberdeen Labour representatives.

The deal comes a week after Kezia Dugdale confirmed that her party would not join any coalition at local level which would inflict austerity budgets on local communities.

However, Scottish Labour councillors in Aberdeen today (Wednesday 17 May) backed a leadership agreement which allows a Tory led coalition to take control of the council.

Currently, the SNP are the largest party grouping in Aberdeen with 19 seats in the council, this was not enough to form a majority on the council.

“The people will not forget this betrayal.” Stephen Flynn

But the Tory led coalition deal reached the 23 needed to form a majority with 11 Scottish Tories, 9 Labour councillors and Liberal Democrat councillor Jennifer Stewart who left the party to stand as an independent. This came after Lib Dem group leader Iain Yuill ruled out any chance of an all-unionist agreement.

In response to the news, the SNP group leader Stephen Flynn said: “If it were me being put forward by the Conservatives, I would feel sick. The people will not forget this betrayal.”

Callum McCaig, SNP candidate for Aberdeen South and former leader of Aberdeen City Council, said: “This is absolutely shameful behaviour from Labour. They can no longer call themselves a party that supports public services, given this anti-democratic pact with a right-wing Tory party obsessed with austerity and cuts.”

Highlighting the tensions between the central and local parties a Scottish Labour spokesman said: “Labour’s approach has been clear and consistent: we cannot do any deal with another party if it would result in further austerity being imposed on local communities.

“As a result, any Labour councillor who does not stand down from this multi-party arrangement will be in breach of Labour Party rules and may be suspended from the party.”

On 5 May, the SNP saw an increase of three councillors, up from 16 in 2012, to 19 followed by the Tories on 11 and Labour on nine. Before Stewart’s defection, four LibDems were returned, down from five in 2010 and two independents.

Barney Crockett from Scottish Labour was elected Lord Provost this week with Tom Mason of the Scottish Tories elected as deputy provost.

Picture courtesy of Russell N10

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