Threat to SNP's radical vision for Edinburgh blamed on Labour 'ignoring democracy'

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No administration has been formed on Edinburgh City Council
No administration has been formed on Edinburgh City Council

RADICAL policies proposed for the capital may never see the light of day after the SNP blamed Anas Sarwar for a failure to form a majority council coalition.

The SNP, which is the biggest party on Edinburgh City Council, is struggling to form a majority coalition after Labour councillors ruled out any arrangements with the SNP or the Tories.

But the failure to draw up a majority coalition between the SNP and Labour, who jointly ran the city over the last five years, has been blamed on central office – with Mr Sarwar’s team accused of “ignoring the democratic choices of the people of Edinburgh”.

The Scottish Labour leader has insisted that his party can be part of no formal coalitions – with Cammy Day, the Labour group leader in the city, unable to convince his group of councillors to sign up to a deal with the SNP.

Instead the most likely outcome to form the new administration in Edinburgh appears to be a minority coalition between the SNP and the Greens, but that risks unionist parties voting down radical proposals including the workplace parking levy and commuter charge - as well as other key manifesto commitments like the tourist tax.

The Greens are believed to be “actively considering” a deal with the SNP.

But due to the two parties not having enough combined councillors for an Edinbugh City Council majority, a council insider warned that “nobody is really happy about the idea”.

They added: “We would not be able to get a programme through.

“With the climate crisis, we need to take some pretty unpalatable decisions, particularly on reducing road traffic and there is no way a minority administration would be able to put that through.”

The insider added that Labour and the LibDems, who have also ruled out a deal with the SNP, are “happy to just sit on the fence”, adding that the SNP and the Greens are “the only adults in the room”.

The SNP group, which believes it has a mandate to form the next Edinburgh administration as the biggest party returned after the local election, has pointed the finger at Mr Sarwar and his deputy leader Jackie Baillie, MSP for Dumbarton, for the failure to draw up a deal with Labour.

An SNP source said: “It’s a real shame that for Edinburgh their policy is being dictated by the MSP for Dumbarton.

“Labour are ignoring the democratic choices of the people of Edinburgh. It seems like the central party is blocking the choices of the people.

“The SNP are continuing negotiations and hoping to form an administration and get the city up and running.”

Labour are believed to be open to a deal with the LibDems, but that would also be a minority administration – but could potentially be supported informally by the Tories, who would not want to be seen to be allowing the SNP to retain power.

One Labour councillor said that “some sort of deal with the LibDems would be possible but would be hard to sustain”, adding that there would be “no chance” of agreeing a formal arrangement with the Conservatives.

The LibDems, who ruled out a deal with the SNP over what they claim is an unwillingness that things need to change in how the city is managed, are still open to speaking to Labour about a potential agreement to run the capital city.

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