The Liberal Democrat group has announced on Twitter that it will back the Edinburgh Labour group plans for a minority administration at the council meeting on Thursday.
If Cllr Robert Aldridge is to become Lord Provost as widely expected, then it will most likely be Kevin Lang, councillor for Almond and head of external affairs at the Law Society of Scotland, who will become the group leader. Lang tweeted on Tuesday night the basis for their group’s decision to throw their much improved numbers in with the Labour proposal.
The approval of this deal will, it seems, come down to Conservative councillors also agreeing to support it. Their numbers fell from 18 to nine at the election, possibly believed to be a response to the Partygate shenanigans. But these three groups together (Lab/Cons/LD) have 34 councillors – and we are advised that even the Lord Provost who would have just been appointed will have a vote on the matter.
A reminder that you can read all the party’s manifestos here.
While the SNP and Greens mention a possible congestion tax, support for the workplace parking levy and tourist tax, there is little positive about matters such as these in any of the other three parties election pledges. Without a written agreement, the deal seems to only be based on the Labour manifesto – which the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats will then either agree or disagree with on an issue by issue basis. It is not clear whether the SNP and Greens can then overcome the party politics divide to also agree policies on that basis. It would certainly take a change from the way things have been done in the last ten years.
The council meeting on Thursday will decide the administration the Lord Provost and possibly also some of the committees so that the work of the new council can begin. It will be “sparky” in the words of one of the group leaders. Whatever happens it is all in the arithmetic. With 63 councillors, a simple majority of 32 could have been achieved by a continuation of the SNP/Labour relationship which has so far lasted for ten years.
With only 13 councillors the Labour group would be forced to seek support for each policy or decision from other parties on a case by case basis. Many of the Labour group are new councillors, although not all are inexperienced in the ways of the council. For example, Cllr Jane Meagher worked with Andrew Burns when he was Labour leader until 2017. The veterans of the Labour group are now the leader, Cammy Day and Cllr Joan Griffiths who was until recently Depute Lord Provost.