Conservatives expect SNP-Labour coalition in East Renfrewshire

Conservatives in East Renfrewshire expect another SNP-Labour coalition to run the council after blaming “national events” for their own performance.

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Councillor Gordon Wallace with Eastwood MSP Jackson Carlaw

The group retained five councillors, but leader Gordon Wallace said he was “disappointed” to not achieve the results he had hoped for.

SNP group leader Tony Buchanan confirmed talks are being over a coalition. The SNP, Labour and independent councillor Danny Devlin have ruled together over the last two terms.

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And Councillor Wallace, re-elected to represent Giffnock and Thornliebank, said: “Sadly for the people of East Renfrewshire, it’s likely there will be another Labour-SNP coalition — despite Anas Sarwar’s pre-election assurance that his party would not prop up the nationalists — and that will lead to our roads deteriorating further and even more housing developments on greenbelt land being nodded through.”

Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar ruled out formal coalitions with opposition parties, including the SNP and the Conservatives, ahead of last week’s council elections. The Conservatives have lost seats across the UK and Boris Johnson’s role in the Partygate scandal has been blamed for the poor performance.

Councillor Wallace said: “This was not the result we were hoping for in East Renfrewshire but, as with Scottish Conservative colleagues up and down Scotland, our performance was impacted by national events beyond our control.

“That said, we went into this election with five Scottish Conservative councillors and came out with five and, indeed, I am personally grateful to the residents of Giffnock and Thornliebank ward who helped increase my own personal vote.

“All our candidates worked extremely hard throughout this campaign and while disappointed that we didn’t manage to get the results we had hoped for, we will reflect on this, learn lessons and come back stronger next time.”

Labour also returned five councillors at the East Renfrewshire election while the SNP secured six, becoming the largest party on the council for the first time. Danny Devlin and David Macdonald, both independents, took the other two seats.

After Friday’s election count, Councillor Buchanan, the council leader for the past five years, said: “The result is a strong rejection of Boris Johnson’s Tories and a clear endorsement of our positive vision for a fairer, greener East Renfrewshire.”

No party stood enough candidates to secure a majority, with 10 required.