SNP U-turn on power-sharing deals

SNP U-turn on power-sharing deals
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Shock, horror! Another principled SNP stance has crumbled at first contact with the prospect of power. For much of the past three weeks the nationalists in Scotland have been screaming blue murder about opposition groups negotiating pacts on local authorities where the SNP are the largest party, to lock them out of office. Such deals between the Tories, Lib Dems and Labour should, perhaps, be unsurprising given that Nicola Sturgeon’s followers are still committed to the break-up of the UK. But that hasn’t stopped the First Minister’s lackeys from crying foul play every time a new deal has been announced.

Take South Lanarkshire where the SNP won 27 of the council’s 64 seats but failed to win a majority, despite being the largest party. Labour and the Liberal Democrats instead struck a deal with local independents to keep both them and the Conservatives out of office. Barely had the news been announced than Maree Todd MSP, one of the new breed of blessed Nicola’s acolytes, took to Twitter to declaim it as a democratic insult.  ‘Absolutely grim,’ she declared. ‘Shame on Scottish Labour who clearly have no interest in tackling the cost of living crisis if they’re in bed with the Tories. Undermining democracy to boot!’

Leaving aside her flat out lie – the Tories are one of South Lanarkshire’s recognised Opposition parties – it’s good to see that the minister for public health, women’s health and sport doesn’t have anything better to do given Scotland’s collapsing ambulance service, woeful health outcomes and looming battles over transgender sport. Three days on, it was therefore a surprise to read that 55 miles away over at Dumfries and Galloway Council the local Labour group has struck a new deal to govern with, er, Todd’s good SNP comrades – despite neither being the largest party on the council. Instead, the Scottish Conservatives, who won 15 of 43 seats here, will be the recognised Opposition to a council jointly led by the SNP’s Rob Davidson (who won 10 seats) and Labour’s Elaine Murray (who won nine).

All that moaning about how cutting the largest party out of a council was ‘anti-democratic’ and now the SNP have turned around and done it themselves at the first opportunity. Will Todd and her ministerial colleagues at Holyrood call this out for the utter hypocrisy it is? Don't hold your breath...

Written bySteerpike

Steerpike is The Spectator's gossip columnist, serving up the latest tittle tattle from Westminster and beyond. Email tips to or message @MrSteerpike

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