Despite only winning 20 seats at May’s local elections compared to the SNP’s 34, the party gained the support of both the Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives to take control.
A vote of all 75 councillors resulted in 41 councillors opting for the Labour-led minority administration compared to 34 for an SNP-run council. Labour has not formed a coalition with either the Liberal Democrats or the Conservatives but say they will need the support of others in the council to provide an effective administration.
Labour leader, Councillor David Ross, said Labour’s minority administration offered a “much improved governance structure” which offers member-led decision making.
“We are talking about standing up for local government and the best interest of Fife and Fife Council,” he said. “Although the SNP won the largest number of seats, they only gained 36.9 per cent of first preference votes. Despite the fact that we are not the largest group on the council, we believe Labour is best placed for a progressive policy for the next five years.”
However, SNP group leader, Councillor David Alexander, criticised the move, saying there was “no coherent defence for this gerrymandered motion” after his party had won the most seats and said the outcome was “trampling on democracy and SNP councillor John Beare said Labour’s motion was the most “shameful anti-democratic shenanigan” he had seen in the last 16 years. This is one of the worst stitch-ups I have ever seen. Those that propose it and enable it should hang their heads in shame.”
Fife Liberal Democrats said they will work “constructively” with new Fife Council leadership. Its leader, Cllr Jonny Tepp, said: “Following the very successful election results for the Liberal Democrats earlier this month we have been determined to use our increased numbers and influence to deliver for the people who voted for us. We have had constructive discussions with other council groups on how a stable and inclusive administration can be formed.
“Whilst we have been unable to form a coalition, we were impressed by the Labour group’s commitment to change the way the council operates including strengthening accountability and scrutiny.
“In addition to providing good services to the people of Fife, Liberal Democrats are determined to close the poverty related attainment gap in schools, improve the performance for all pupils, tackle the shortages in social care, deliver the Levenmouth railway, build many more homes for social rent and meet our obligations to the climate.
“We are also positive that we can make early progress on the opening times for leisure centres and recycling centres in North East Fife, on the headships in schools in the East Neuk and Largo, funding for flooding and roads maintenance as well as measures to revitalise Dunfermline town centre. We will work constructively with the new Labour administration to achieve these important priorities.”
Cllr David Ross has been voted Council Leader and Cllr David Alexander is Leader of the Opposition.
Cllr Cara Hilton takes the position of Education Spokesperson and Cllr Judy Hamilton is Spokesperson for Housing and Building Services.
Cllr Altany Craik was voted in as Spokesperson for Finance, Economy and Strategic Planning and Cllr Jan Wincott is Spokesperson for Environment and Climate Change.
Cllr Linda Erskine takes up the position of Spokesperson for Communities and Leisure and Cllr David Graham is Spokesperson for Health and Social Care. Chair of Fife’s Regulation and Licensing Committee is Cllr Tom Adams.