Historic alliance sees SNP end 80 years of Labour rule in Midlothian

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By a Newsnet reporter

The SNP has formed a historic coalition administration in Midlothian, ending over 80 years of Labour rule.
 
The nationalists have entered into a formal coalition with Independent councillor Peter De Vink and have been promised the support of Green councillor Ian Baxter.

The coalition ends an 84 year period of continued Labour dominance and came after the local election result saw both Labour and the SNP tie with eight councillors each.

Following negotiations SNP Group Leader Lisa Beattie confirmed that independent Peter De Vink has gone into a formal coalition with the eight SNP councillors and Ian Baxter, Midlothian’s Green Councillor, has agreed support for the SNP-led council.
 
This will now be the first time in living memory that Midlothian has been run by anyone other than the Labour party.  Councillor Beattie highlighted just how great an opportunity this was for Midlothian to move forward.
 
She said:
 
“This is a landmark result for Midlothian, where Labour was in power since time immemorial.  Our positive campaign and vision for Midlothian has put us into the driving seat in a way that would have been unthinkable just a few years ago.
 
“For a long time the SNP had no presence at all in one of Labour’s traditional mining heartlands – now we will lead the council and the people of Midlothian into a brighter future. 
 
“We will offer the people who live in the towns and villages here a real community engagement promise and work in partnership with them and with the SNP Government to improve the area.
 
“I am confident the breadth and depth of professional skills across the SNP led Coalition will be well equipped to deliver for Midlothian. 
 
“I am absolutely delighted to be in this position – we will work to give the people of Midlothian the council that they deserve.”

Meanwhile in Edinburgh, the Labour group are hoping to enter into a coalition after they ended the contest with 20 councillors, two ahead of the SNP.  Both parties gained five apiece after the collapse of the Lib Dem vote with the Greens picking up an additional three.

Labour Group leader Andrew Burns said: “As per our manifesto, on which we have formed the largest group, we are still talking to all of the other four parties on the council.

“Nothing has been ruled out; all options are still on the table; and my door is firmly open to all of the other parties.”

In Edinburgh the Labour group (20) need the backing of either the SNP (18) or the Conservatives (11) in order to form a majority, an alliance with the Greens (6) and the Lib Dems (3) provides 29 seats – exactly half the council total.