Edinburgh Labour propose to run the council with only 13 councillors out of 63. This arrangement would depend on the opposition groups – Liberal Democrats and Conservatives – falling into line as often as possible.
These three parties together total 34 councillors which in simple arithmetical terms is a majority, but as we have written many times already the Labour Party’s Scottish Executive Committee (SEC) must approve any of the local Labour group’s plans – and formal coalitions are not permitted.
The Liberal Democrats held a group meeting on Monday evening with Cllr Kevin Lang reporting on Twitter that a list of committees and nominees had been agreed.
Cllr Aldridge said: “We try to operate the way we would we hope the council will operate, by talking things through and reaching an agreed position. What we’ve suggested to the Labour party – because it would be a minority Labour administration – is that we would assist in the running of the city in a constructive way, by taking on some of the non-political posts. There are some executive committees like transport and housing, which are clearly political, and there are others, which are quasi-judicial and don’t tend to split on party political lines. I mean things like licensing, and planning and so on. So we’ve made a proposal to them that we could take on some of those posts, because they obviously don’t have a huge number of councillors, and I think we might be aided in managing city smoothly if we offer that.
“We haven’t agreed any policy lines with them at this stage, so it is not a coalition, it is us assisting them in the smooth running of the city. We will continue to work constructively on matters – and if you look at the manifestos across all the parties, there is a huge amount on which we agree. I’m hoping that we focus on the things we can agree on, we can take the city forward a long way on that. This will be adult constructive politics, working towards improving the city for the benefit of our residents and visitors.”
Leader of the Edinburgh Labour Group, Cllr Cammy Day said: “We are continuing to have progressive discussions with Liberal Democrat colleagues on how to take forward The City of Edinburgh Council and will work with all parties to deliver the best for our city, and our citizens.”
What is expected now is a motion or two lodged by Wednesday evening ahead of the council meeting on Thursday.
This meeting is continued from a very short session held online last Thursday, but is expected to be at the City Chambers and in person. The motions will probably be an SNP/Green motion proposing a minority coalition, and alternatively a Labour motion proposing a single party minority administration – with informal help from the Liberal Democrats and Conservatives. It is widely expected that Cllr Robert Aldridge will be installed as Lord Provost, and certainly the SNP endorsed that choice on Monday.
The party manifestos published ahead of the election can be read in full here.
At the recent elections the numbers elected were as follows:
- 9 Conservatives
- 10 Greens
- 13 Labour
- 12 LibDems
- 19 SNP