Highlands & Islands

Independent, Lib Dem, Labour coalition set to run Highland

Highland Council HQ Image copyright Google
Image caption A minority independent administration led Highland Council before the election

Independent, Liberal Democrat and Labour councillors have agreed to work together to form a new administration to lead Highland Council.

A minority group of independent councillors ran the local authority before last week's local council elections.

On Tuesday, the SNP group criticised the independents for not negotiating with it.

Independent councillor Margaret Davidson has welcomed the new deal.

She said: "We are pleased to announce that a coalition of independents, Liberal Democrats and Labour councillors have formed an administration to take Highland Council forward for the next five years.

"This is an agreement that provides a sustainable administration for the long term, and represents the widespread opinion across the Highlands."

The proposal for a majority administration of the 41 councillors will be put to a meeting of the full council on 18 May for formal agreement.

Office bearers are to be formally agreed at this meeting, including the appointment of Ms Davidson as leader of the council. She held this post previously.

The results of last week's local elections saw 28 independent candidates elected, followed by the SNP on 22, Conservatives and Liberal Democrats with 10 each, Labour three and Scottish Greens one.

The Conservatives were the first to be elected to Highland Council in 22 years.

Pippa Hadley's win for the Scottish Greens was a first for the local authority, which had no representative from that party previously.

In the Western Isles, councillors will be asked to elect a leader, convener and committee chairmen - no women candidates were elected - at a meeting of Comhairle nan Eilena Siar on Tuesday.

Usually, the comhairle does not formally set up an administration.

The results on the isles saw the election of 23 independent candidates, seven SNP and one Conservative.

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