West Lothian has to wait until next week to find out who is taking control of the council after a meeting to decide who will form a coalition of power was adjourned yesterday (Thursday).
The Tories were the biggest winners in last week’s local election gaining six seats – four from Labour and two from the SNP – to make it 13 seats for the SNP, 12 for Labour, seven for the Conservatives and one Independent making up the 33-seat council.
With a majority of 17 councillors required to govern the council, it now means the SNP or Labour will have to form a coalition with the Conservatives.
However, with a national SNP directive stating local parties will not form coalitions with the Tories on principle it means the new administration will likely be a Labour/SNP or Labour/Tory one.
A council spokesperson said yesterday: “At a meeting of the full council earlier today, the council noted the results of the local government elections in West Lothian and the short period between the elections and the statutory first meeting of the council today (Thursday).
“It was unanimously agreed to adjourn the meeting until 10am on Thursday, May 18 and to defer the election of the Provost and all remaining items on the agenda until that adjourned meeting.”
All three Linlithgow councillors – Tom Kerr (Conservative), David Tait (SNP) and Tom Conn (Labour) regained their seats following last Friday’s count in Livingston’s West Lothian College.
Former Provost Mr Kerr was voted in at stage 1 with 3037 votes in a landslide victory while Mr David Tait (stage 7) and Mr Conn (stage 5) polled 1160 and 1060 votes respectively.
It’s been hard to gauge who all the parties favour for a coalition with each keeping their cards close to their chests this week, although Mr Kerr did say the Tories and SNP workjing together would be “difficult”.
Mr Kerr said: “I’m absolutely delighted by the vote and would like to say a huge thank you to the people of the ward for this level of support, it’s fantastic.
“This week’s meeting was postponed for a week to give all the new councillors time to get settled in at the Civic Centre and as one party did not get the majority needed it will give the councillors more time to see if an arrangement can be made for a coalition.
“I am keeping all my options open, and without pre-judging any talks, it will be difficult to have a working relationship with the SNP.”
It is a similar case in both Falkirk and Edinburgh. In the capital, talks between Labour and the SNP forming a coalition reached a stalemate on Wednesday evening with Nationalists accusing two Labour parliamentarians of interference
In Falkirk, which covers Bo’ness, the SNP has “made representations” to Labour for talks on a possible partnership.
Linlithgow, Bo’ness, Winchburgh and South Queensferry results
Linlithgow: Tom Conn (Labour) 1060; Alan Cooper (UKIP) 40; Sue Friel (SNP) 1091; Tom Kerr (Conservative) 3037; Maire McCormack (Greens) 476; Sally Pattle (Lib Dems) 381; David Tait (SNP) 1160. Elected: Tom Conn (stage 5); Tom Kerr (1); David Tait (7). Turnout – 59%; 74 rejected papers, quota of votes for candidates to be elected was 1182.
Broxburn, Uphall and Winchburgh: Diane Calder (SNP) 1898; Janet Campbell (SNP) 583; Angela Doran (Labour) 1324; June Douglas (Greens) 256; Chris Horne (Conservatives) 1897; Elaine Mallon (Scottish Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition) 57; Audrey Middleton (Labour) 313; Pippa Plevin (SNP) 422; John Woods (Lib Dems) 217. Elected: Diane Calder (stage 1); Janet Campbell (9); Angela Doran (3); Chris Horne (1). Turnout – 46.2%; 165 rejected papers, quota 1394.
Bo’ness and Blackness (Falkirk): David Aitchison (Labour) 1106; Michael Burnett (Labour) 298; Mari-Ellena Corvi (Greens) 312; Alan Gilbert (SNP) 761; Lynn Munro (Conservative) 1412; Ann Ritchie (SNP) 1510. Elected: David Aitchison (stage 4); Lynn Munro (1); Ann Ritchie (stage 1). Turnout – 46.8%; 137 rejected papers, quota 1350.
Almond (South Queensferry, Edinburgh): Daniel Fraser (Scottish Libertarian Party) 99; Graham Hutchison (Conservatives) 2395; Otto Inglis (UKIP) 68; Kevin Lang (Lib Dems) 6079; John Longstaff (Independent) 56; Iain McKinnon-Waddell (Greens) 375; Pamela Mitchell (SNP) 1240; Bruce Whitehead (Labour) 786; Norrie Work (SNP) 1971; Louise Young (Lib Dems) 1138. Elected: Graham Hutchison (stage 3); Kevin Lang (stage 1); Norrie Work (stage 10); Louise Young (stage 2). Turnout – 56.3%; 129 rejected papers, quota 2842.
West Lothian’s electorate for 2017 was 137,711; turnout was 46.1 per cent. Linlithgow’s electorate was 12,396 with a 59 per cent turnout, the highest turnout in West Lothian.