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EXCLUSIVE: Labour closes in on deal with SNP for Stirling Council coalition

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Council Headquarters at Old Viewforth. Credit: © Google 2017

Labour councillors are on the verge of agreeing a deal with the SNP to form a coalition at Stirling Council, a source has told Brig.

The deal will mark a notable reversal in the city for the party, which has spent the last five years in a coalition with the Conservatives. It is likely to be formally announced at the Council’s next statutory meeting, which is to be held tomorrow afternoon.

Labour’s decision will fuel speculation that the party has been scared off coalitions with the Tories after its National Executive ruled against an alliance at Aberdeen Council.

That situation ended with all nine Labour councillors in the city being suspended from the party, after they decided to defy the party leadership and enter the coalition.

Explaining that result, Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale said: “Labour cannot do any deal with another party if it would result in further austerity being imposed on local communities”. This commitment likely informed the decision in Stirling.

SNP councillor Jim Thomson said: “I can only speculate as to why Labour see the SNP as a better option than the Tories, being our joint values better protect the people of Stirling at a time of increasing austerity.”

At the recent council elections, which were held on May 4, Stirling elected nine councillors from both the Conservative party and the SNP, along with four Labour councillors and one from the Scottish Green Party.

These results meant that no single party crossed the twelve-seat threshold to form a majority, leaving Labour to decide which of the largest two parties to form an alliance with.

According to the source, Labour’s National Executive is currently deliberating how the manifestos of the two parties can be combined most effectively.

Labour has been approached for comment.

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