Labour executive rejects Tory coalition in West Lothian

Scottish Labour's ruling executive has rejected proposals for a coalition with the Conservatives to run West Lothian Council.

Kezia Dugdale suspended Labour councillors in Aberdeen after entering coalition with the Tories.

The Labour group on the council had placed a formal request for a partnership with the Tories but the party’s Scottish Executive Committee (SEC) blocked the deal.

Meanwhile, Labour has suspended all nine of its councillors in Aberdeen after they defied a ruling by the party’s Scottish Executive Committee and went ahead with a coalition deal with Tories and independents.

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The Aberdeen Labour group signed a formal agreement to help form a new administration for the city, leaving the SNP in opposition despite it being the biggest party.

Even though the Tories had 11 seats, Labour’s Jenny Laing became council leader and party colleague Barney Crockett was elected as Lord Provost.

Labour’s SEC had rejected the deal on Tuesday evening and ordered the nine councillors to withdraw from the new coalition by 5pm yesterday, but they failed to do so and were suspended.

Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale said: “Labour values must always run through any deals in local government.

“The hundreds of thousands of Scots who vote for us have the absolute right to expect us to defend local services against cuts and properly fund the services that so many people rely on such as education and care for the elderly.

“Labour cannot do any deal with another party if it would result in further austerity being imposed on local communities.

“Tory austerity risks hurting so many families in Aberdeen, and the Labour Party simply will not stand for that.”