Vote Labour, Get Tory: stitch-ups in Scotland’s councils

On 5 May 2022, the SNP got the strongest ever result in a local election.

The SNP got by far the most votes, most seats, had the biggest number of gains of any party, and we are the largest party in the highest number of councils.

And yet, despite voters overwhelmingly putting their trust in the SNP, Labour has made grubby backroom deals with Tories in councils across Scotland.

Here’s all you need to know.

Anas Sarwar: “no ifs, no buts, no coalitions”

Throughout the election campaign and immediately after the results, Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar stressed his party wouldn’t make deals or coalitions with the Tories.

But just a few days later, that’s exactly what happened.

Edinburgh: Labour deal with Tories and Lib Dems

Largest group on Edinburgh City Council: SNP, 19/63 seats

The SNP was returned as the largest group – however, Labour (with just 13 councillors), turned to its former ‘No’ campaign partners – Tories and the Liberal Democrats – to stitch up forming an administration.

After inflicting damaging austerity and Brexit, the Tories got crushed by Edinburgh voters on polling day – losing 9 out of their former 18 seats.

Despite that, Labour chose to reward them by inviting them to share power on the council.

West Lothian

Largest group on West Lothian Council: SNP, 15/33 seats

Before the elections, Labour ran West Lothian as a minority, propped up by Tory votes.

However, on May 5, the Tory vote collapsed – and just 4 Tory councillors were returned (compared to 7 last time).

Despite that, Labour sought support from the Tories, a single Lib Dem and an independent to form an administration.


Largest group on Fife Council: SNP, 34/75 seats

The SNP gained 5 seats and were just 4 short of an overall majority in Fife, with a record high vote share.

Labour got their worst ever result, with just 20 seats – and the Tories lost almost half their seats, ending with 8.

But regardless of the clear democratic verdict, Labour installed themselves as a minority administration propped up by Tory and Lib Dem votes.


Largest group on Stirling Council: SNP, 8/23 seats

The SNP was returned as the biggest party in Stirling, while Labour had its worst result ever – with just a 16.1% share of the vote.

And yet, despite being only the third-largest group on Stirling Council, Anas Sarwar’s party have struck a deal with the Conservatives to claim power, offering the Tories the role of Provost in return for their votes.

South Lanarkshire

Largest group on South Lanarkshire Council: SNP, 27/64 seats

The SNP is the biggest party in South Lanarkshire, and increased its vote share from 2017.

However, Labour – on 24 seats – once again seized control of the council, propped up by the Tories and the Liberal Democrats.

We all pay a heavy price for Tory policies – but Labour works with the Tories, instead of opposing them

Whether it’s at Westminster or in many of Scotland’s councils, the people of Scotland are landed with Tory governments despite not voting for them.

These governments impose a whole raft of damaging policies, which hurt the livelihoods of people and families, such as:

  • A hard Brexit
  • Universal Credit cuts
  • Two-child cap and the rape clause
  • National Insurance tax hike
  • The pensions triple lock suspended

These are policies which only worsen the Tory-made cost of living crisis, and yet Anas Sarwar’s Labour chooses to reward the Tories with council positions through undemocratic, grubby deals.

Scotland deserves better. Join the SNP today and if you haven’t yet, pledge your support for Scottish independence.