Who will run South Lanarkshire Council?

South Lanarkshire Council headquarters in Hamilton
South Lanarkshire Council headquarters in Hamilton

The people of Clydesdale will learn tomorrow who will be running their council services for the next five years.

The first meeting of South Lanarkshire Council following the election of Thursday, May 4, should settle what political party – or parties – will form its new administration.

Although the Scottish National Party took the most seats – 27 – that fell short of a majority, but it says it is willing, if necessary, to form a minority administration.

Labour, with 21 seats, has said that it will not consider a formal pact with either the nationalists or the Conservatives, the third largest party with 14 seats.

The Conservatives have said that they will put a proposal to form an administration to tomorrow’s meeting, adding that they would “work with anyone to give South Lanarkshire strong and stable leadership”.

The former Labour administration fired the starting pistol on the race for power at County Buildings by issuing a statement saying: “We are disappointed not to be the largest party.

“The Tories and the SNP have used this election to advance their constitutional arguments.

“Scottish Labour councillors in South Lanarkshire will not be making pacts with the Tories or the SNP.

“We reject austerity, and we oppose the centralising agenda of the SNP Government.”

The SNP responded by stating: “We won an historic victory on May 4, emerging as the largest party at the council elections and are now ready to implement our comprehensive and progressive manifesto.”

The SNP group’s leader, Hamilton South councillor John Ross, said: “While it is disappointing that Labour have ruled out a progressive alliance to take South Lanarkshire forward, the SNP are administration-ready.

“Make no mistake, a minority administration will have its challenges, but we are ready to rise to them.

“The people of South Lanarkshire voted for competence and vision on May 4, and it is our duty to meet their expectations.”

“That way, the people of South Lanarkshire will get the council they deserve.”

The new leader of the now-enlarged Conservative group, Clydesdale East councillor Alex Allison, stated that it would make “serving the needs of our constituents” its top priority and would work with anyone to form an effective administration.

He said the Tories’ proposals to do so would be unveiled at tomorrow’s meeting, being held at the council’s headquarters in Hamilton.