West Lothian Council will run by a minority Labour administration in a deal described as a “grubby coalition with the Tories” by the SNP, who found themselves unable to take control despite winning the largest number of seats.

At the vote earlier this month the SNP won 15 seats to Labour’s 12 – but after failing to negotiate a deal with other parties they were unable to gather enough support to form a new administration

Labour veterans Cathy Muldoon and Lawrence Fitzpatrick were instead elected to the top positions in the new West Lothian Council on Tuesday.

The council will resemble the set up in the last administration, with Labour running a minority administration with loose coalition support  from the four Conservative councillors, the Independent Stuart Borrowman and Liberal Democrat Councillor, Sally Pattle.

The SNP had proposed an administration shared between themselves and Labour, a move they described as “fair and proportionate”.

And after the vote SNP group leader Janet Campbell, the SNP nomination for council leadership, said:  “It’s another grubby coalition with the Tories. It’s a shameful day for your party.”

Labour group leader Councillor Fitzpatrick rejected this, and said: “The majority votes were for parties opposed to independence and returned a majority of councillors who were opposed to independence.”

Councillor Fitzpatrick, leader of the last administration, was re-elected to the position. Councillor Fitzpatrick, who represents Livingston South, was voted Leader of the Council also by 18 votes to 15, and was also elected chair of the council Executive.

Councillor Muldoon, first elected in 1999 and a long time councillor for Fauldhouse  and the Breich Valley, was elected as Provost by 18 votes to 15 against SNP contender the newly elected Mary Dickson.

Councillor Muldoon told the meeting of the council: “I am looking forward to working with everyone and catching up with everyone.”

She added: “I am delighted to be elected Provost of West Lothian. It is an honour and a privilege and I’m extremely proud to be elected as West Lothian’s first ever female Provost.

“I cannot wait to get started in this role and I will carry out my duties as West Lothian’s civic head with fairness and courtesy to all.”

Conservative Peter Heggie, who represents Livingston South was elected as depute Provost . He said: “It is a real privilege to hold the position of Depute Provost of West Lothian and I’m delighted to have been selected to serve this office. I look forward to representing this great county in the years ahead.”

Labour’s Kirsteen Sullivan  was returned to the position of  depute leader of the council for a second term.

Councillor Sullivan was also elected as vice chair of the Executive, which is the main decision making  committee of the council.

By Stuart Sommerville, Local Democracy Reporter

The Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS) is a public service news agency: funded by the BBC, provided by the local news sector, and used by qualifying partners. Local Democracy Reporters cover top-tier local authorities and other public service organisations.