Lib Dems won't get into bed with Tories at SBC

The Liberal Democrats on Scottish Borders Council will not form part of a new political administration, its leader has confirmed.

By Paul Kelly
Thursday, 12th May 2022, 2:58 pm
Kelso councillor Euan Robson, who is the leader of the Lib Dem group at the council.
Kelso councillor Euan Robson, who is the leader of the Lib Dem group at the council.

It is understood that the Conservative Unionists are edging closer to be in a position to form an administration as the majority party after last week’s Local Elections.

The Tories have 14 of the council’s 34 elected members but need 18 councillors onboard to take control in the council chamber.

As negotiations with the independents and other political groupings continue Councillor Euan Robson, leader of the Lib Dems, has made it clear his party will not be joining an administration with either the Tories or Scottish National Party.

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The Lib Dems returned three councillors this time around – one more than in 2017.

Councillor Robson said: “We have made it clear to the two main parties that we are not supporting either of them.

“The basis of that is that during the course of the election we found that there was a growing number of people who are becoming thoroughly disenchanted with the polarisation of politics and the election confirmed that.

“The constitutional precedent is that the Conservatives being the largest party have got the right to have the first go at forming an administration and I believe they may be getting to close to that but time will tell.

“What I have said to the Conservatives, the SNP and the independents is that we will vote in the five years of the council on progressive policies that are in the interest of Borderers.

“That means there will be an emphasis from us on the education system, getting the best start in life for our young people, an emphasis on ensuring that we deliver social work services in the best way we can and that we improve our infrastructure in a way that benefits as many Borderers as possible.

“We will help with the development of policies and vote for sensible ideas to take the Borders forward, but as far as forming an administration that is something for the Tories and then, if they can’t find a working majority, for the SNP to see if they can.

“We are not going to be part of the administration.”