Sturgeon ‘open’ to replicating Greens deal at council level

The SNP and Scottish Greens entered into a powersharing agreement at Holyrood after last year’s Holyrood elections.

Craig Paton
Saturday 07 May 2022 13:16
The First Minister was in Dundee to celebrate her party taking majority control of the city’s council (Lesley Martin/PA)
The First Minister was in Dundee to celebrate her party taking majority control of the city’s council (Lesley Martin/PA)

Nicola Sturgeon has said she is “open” to replicating the powersharing agreement at Holyrood in council chambers, but will leave decisions up to local leaders.

Last year, the SNP entered into an agreement with the Scottish Greens, bringing their co-leaders into government as junior ministers and securing a majority in the Scottish Parliament.

Given the proportional nature of Scotland’s voting system in the local council elections, just two of the 32 local authorities returned a majority for any single party, Dundee for the SNP and West Dunbartonshire for Labour.

Clearly I'd be very open to seeing (the co-operation agreement) replicated in council areas in Scotland

Nicola Sturgeon

The Greens increased their council count by 16 to 35 – including electing more than 10 councillors in Glasgow and Edinburgh – including beating Glasgow City Council leader Susan Aitken in first preference votes in her Langside ward –  leaving the door open for a similar deal to be struck with SNP groups to secure control of Scotland’s two largest cities.

When asked about council agreements by the PA news agency on Saturday, the First Minister said: “That’s for local council groups to determine what’s in the best interests of the areas they serve, but I’m in a partnership agreement in government in Holyrood with the Greens, so clearly I’d be very open to seeing that replicated in council areas in Scotland.

“But I think it’s important that these decisions are driven locally and that we see parties that are prepared to recognise where they disagree but focus more on where they agree (and) come together to try to put arrangements in place that are in the best interest of the areas they serve.”

The First Minister was in Dundee on Saturday, celebrating her party’s victory with councillors elected to serve in one of just two majority administrations in Scotland – with Scottish Labour forming the other in West Dunbartonshire.

Ms Sturgeon heralded the result as a “big, big vote of confidence in the leadership the SNP provides in Scotland”.

“It doesn’t come easy, we don’t take these results for granted, we win these elections because we work hard – not just at elections but between elections – to provide good leadership and good governance for the people of Scotland,” she said.

Ms Sturgeon also heralded the achievement after her party has held the reins of power in Scotland for 15 years, saying voters see “a lot of negativity” coming from opposition parties.

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