Labour hold power in West Lothian

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Labour confirmed they will hold a minority administration in West Lothian Council – 
despite having fewer councillors than the SNP.

The moves comes after a proposed coalition deal with the Conservatives was blocked by the party’s executive body.

The SNP group leader Peter Johnston accused Labour of “crawling back into the bed” with the Tories after he claimed they refused to form a joint administration with the Nationalists.

The SNP won 13 seats at the council elections but 17 was needed to gain an overall majority, while Labour has 12, the Tories seven and one Independent.

Livingston South Councillor Lawrence Fitzpatrick has been named leader of West Lothian Council.

He said: “I am very much looking forward to the opportunity of serving as leader of West Lothian Council – one of the best local authorities in Scotland.

“I am committed to working tirelessly to improve the lives of West Lothian’s residents and will do everything I can to protect and enhance local services.”

Whitburn and Blackburn councillor Kirsteen Sullivan was named as depute leader, while Linlithgow councillor Tom Kerr was elected provost for a third term and said it was a “privilege and an honour”. Dave King is the depute provost.

Meanwhile, in the Falkirk district an SNP minority has taken control of the council for the first time in ten years.

The new leader of the minority administration has warned the SNP will walk away from the job if a lack of co-operation by Labour and the Conservatives make Falkirk “ungovernable”.

Councillor Cecil Meiklejohn said: “The SNP will do the right thing by the people of Falkirk but can only achieve this if the other groups act with a degree of maturity.”

Last week Labour and Tory members closed ranks to ensure the minority SNP administration lost its first key vote which would have seen the number of top earning portfolio posts being cut. Councillor Meiklejohn said that “did not bode well for the future”.

And in the capital, the City of Edinburgh Council were unable to form an administration to lead the local authority three weeks after the local election.

The SNP is the biggest party but is well short of an overall majority. The party has 19 councillors, compared to 18 for the Conservatives and 12 for Labour. The Greens won eight seats, with the Liberal Democrats on six.

It is unlikely a deal will be reached before the General Election on June 8.