A row has broken out between the Lib Dems and the SNP ahead of tomorrow night’s (Thursday) special meeting of East Dunbartonshire Council.
It is now almost certain that Tory group leader Andrew Polson will be elected as council leader with the backing of the Lib Dem group.
The Herald understands the Lib Dems will not form an official coalition with the Tories but will work on a case by case basis.
This week, Lib Dem group leader Councillor Vaughan Moody said his group would work together with councillors of “all parties and none”.
However, former council leader and SNP group leader Gordan Low said this was “a bit rich” after the SNP’s “repeated efforts to engage with the Lib Dems were rebuffed.”
The row comes after Independent Councillor Duncan Cumming called for cross-party co-operation ahead of the council’s approaching budget setting process.
The SNP minority administration dramatically quit just before Christmas when the six Tory councillors and six Lib Dems joined together once again to vote through cuts to voluntary redunancy arrangements for council employees.
Councillor Moody said: “The SNP’s decision to run away has left the council in a mess and at a vital time with the budget process now just weeks away.
“But the Lib Dem group is willing to work with all parties in order to sort out the budget, and on other matters we will be quite prepared to work with others on a case by case basis. This crisis caused by the SNP’s walk-out needs to be sorted soon, and the Lib Dem group will play its part in getting the council back on an even keel.”
In response, former council leader and SNP Group leader Gordan Low said: “Councillor Moody talks of promising to work constructively with other groups to get council back on an even keel.
“It’s a bit rich when it was his decision to ride roughshod over the council’s partnership framework with our own workforce that led directly to where we are now.
“The reality is that for the seven months over which the SNP group formed the council administration, our repeated efforts to engage with the LibDems were rebuffed.
“If Councillor Moody had in fact been prepared to engage constructively, this outcome might well have been avoided.
“Our decision to stand down as the administration was not taken lightly. We were left with no alternative due to the actions of Councillor Moody and his group in ganging up with the Tories to push through their own right wing agenda, an agenda with which the SNP fundamentally disagree.
“The combined Lib Dem and Tory actions over this period have made the council ungovernable. No administration can function when faced with a united opposition prepared to exercise power without responsibility, and for the SNP to have continued as an administration in name only would have been unworkable and dishonest.
“The situation in which the council now finds itself is a direct consequence of Councillor Moody’s own actions. If he thinks it’s a mess, it’s a mess he’s created, and one he knew perfectly well would be the outcome.”