Council coalition stalemate continues

Midlothian Council party leaders - Left to right: Pauline Winchester (Con), Derek Milligan (Lab) and Kelly Parry (SNP)
Midlothian Council party leaders - Left to right: Pauline Winchester (Con), Derek Milligan (Lab) and Kelly Parry (SNP)

Labour group leader Derek Milligan has been left frustrated in his efforts to work with the SNP and Tories to run Midlothian Council.

With two weeks now passed since the council elections Labour has still to form any kind of coalition despite offering both parties places on the administration working together. He said: “There doesn’t seem to be any movement. I don’t know where we turn here as it’s quite frankly not what I expected.

“I’m hoping beyond hope this is just because of the run up to the General Election. They just seem to want to attack each other.

“The Labour group will get on with the day to day job of running the council and leave the electioneering to everybody else.”

Kelly Parry, Midlothian SNP group leader, said: “In other parts of Scotland Labour and the SNP have worked together to unite against the Tories. The Midlothian SNP group were disappointed that this was ruled out without even having a conversation, particularly as our group offered these talks with no restrictions or caveats whatsoever. We again wrote to the Labour group to reiterate that we stand ready to enter into talks which removed the threat of Tory policies. To date we have not had an acknowledgment, let alone a reply.”

Conservative group leader Pauline Winchester said: “We offered Labour a way out of the current stalemate which was rejected. Labour accuse us of electioneering, yet are adhering to a letter they received from their Scottish Executive Committee (SEC) telling them that they are not allowing any power-sharing deals without explicit agreement of the SEC. We will continue to work for a way forward without any constraints.”