12 March 2008

Stirling Efforts

The Lab/LibDem Coalition in charge of Stirling Council has fallen following a no-confidence vote. The SNP motion passed by 11 votes to ten, with the Tories supporting the SNP, and one (suspended) Labour Councillor, Gerard O'Brien, AWOL. SNP Councillor Graham Houston has now taken over as Council Leader, leading an SNP minority administration.

A few things occur:

1. This could have been a chance for SNP Councillors to put into practice their new-found freedom to enter a formal Coalition with the Tories: the SNP have seven Councillors and the Tories four. That chance has not been taken.

2. Nevertheless, you have to imagine that where the two parties are concerned, nudges have been nudged and winks have been winked: the SNP are not even the largest group on the Council, as Labour have eight Councillors, so the SNP really, really, really need the Tories in Stirling.

3. But could they become the largest party? Councillor O'Brien - the Depute Provost, incidentally - is not exactly Mr. Popular with the Labour Group, and there are persistent mutterings that he might make the switch, putting the SNP on eight to Labour's seven. Is a defection on the cards?

Clearly Stirling is one to watch.

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