SNP-Green deal to run Glasgow council more likely, says Labour

An SNP-Green deal to run Glasgow City Council is the “most likely route”, Labour group leader Malcolm Cunning admitted after revealing he has approached the Greens for talks.

Sign up to our GlasgowWorld Today newsletter

Cllr Cunning’s Labour group narrowly missed out on becoming the largest party on Friday, with the result going down to the final ward to be announced.

After securing their highest number of seats in Glasgow (10), the Greens are set to play a key role in deciding who runs the council and have indicated the SNP, which won 37 seats to Labour’s 36, deserves a chance to form an administration.

Sign up to our GlasgowWorld Today newsletter

An SNP spokesman confirmed the group’s leadership “will be meeting with the Greens this week to discuss potential areas of cooperation in the best interest of Glasgow”.

However, Cllr Cunning said he sent a message to Greens co-leader Jon Molyneux, after the count on Friday, to say he was willing to have talks over a deal. A formal coalition is unlikely after Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar ruled out being in administration with other parties ahead of the council elections.

The Greens won 10 council seats in Glasgow.

“I very quickly, early Friday evening, once I was ensconced in a pub in my ward, sent a message to Jon Molyneux to say that I was happy to have a chat,” Cllr Cunning said. “My understanding is he is likely to be speaking to the SNP first. Most of us expect that is the most likely route but not inevitable.”

The Glasgow Labour leader is yet to write off forming a Labour administration following an agreement with the Greens. He believes they could reach a deal over key issues such as transport and the environment.

Cllr Cunning said: “We think that our manifesto was significantly more radical than the SNP on these issues and, in some cases, more radical than the Greens.”

His group has drawn up a draft list of office bearers, such as the Lord Provost and their deputy, but Cllr Cunning said they would need to wait to “see whether we are going to be in opposition or administration”. Those roles will be agreed at the first meeting of the new council, which could be held on May 19 or May 26.

After the results were announced on Friday, Cllr Molyneux, who, alongside Cllr Martha Wardrop, co-leads the Green group on the council, said: “Whichever party returns the largest number of councillors has the right to form an administration. We’ve always been clear on that.”

He said “we will have to wait and see” if a formal coalition is agreed, adding: “What we’ve said all along is we will work collaboratively and we’re always up for cooperation.”

Cllr Cunning said he understood the Greens would want to speak to the SNP, as the largest party, first before holding any other talks.