New SNP Group leader leaves the door open to forming ?a coalition

The new leader of the SNP Group at North Lanarkshire Council has called on Labour to form a coalition administration.

New SNP Group leader Tom Johnston

Cumbernauld East councillor Tom Johnston has taken over leadership of the group from David Stocks, having previously served as depute leader.

Councillor Johnston said: “Our group has gone through a lot of change following the 2017 election, going from 25 members to 31. We found ourselves in a new political situation whereby Labour cling on to power off the backs of the Tories.

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“We represent the wishes of 42,000 voters to Labour’s 35,000, and Labour had rebuked our offer of a progressive coalition and chose to chain themselves to the Tories. This has brought about the need for change from how we operated before 2017.

“With this change in my group the council leader Jim Logue could well do with taking a look at his own options and reconsider forming a progressive coalition with the backing of the vast majority of the electorate in North Lanarkshire. There are three years left of this council term and my door remains open to discussion.

“The whole group and I pay warm tributes and thanks to David Stocks for his eight years of steady leadership and I look forward to working with him to be the strong opposition and administration-in-waiting that he envisaged.”

Councillor Logue turned down forming a formal coalition, but hopes work can be done across party lines.

He said: “We have always been willing to work with councillors of all parties and none on a case by case basis to achieve our ambitious agenda and welcome the new SNP leadership ending their party political posturing of the past and playing a constructive part in representing the people of North Lanarkshire.

“We’re proud to be the largest Labour-led council in Scotland and whilst we have no interest in forming coalitions with any party, our door is always open for discussions on an issue by issue basis.”