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Talks continue as Highland Council parties seek to form new administration

By Scott Maclennan

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A new administration is still to be formed for Highland Council, a week after local elections.
A new administration is still to be formed for Highland Council, a week after local elections.

Some independent councillors are understood to be unhappy about a potential deal with the SNP.

Newly elected leaders of each of the political groups formed after last week's local elections were remaining tight-lipped today as negotiations continued behind closed doors.

Privately some members have told the Courier that the SNP and Independent groups are in talks to form an administration.

But, it is claimed, a number of Independent councillors are unhappy at the prospect of joining the SNP in a coalition and could leave the group if a deal is struck.

That complicates negotiations as any arrangement would need to reach a minimum of 38 for a working majority in the 74-member council chamber.

The SNP, led by Councillor Raymond Bremner, emerged as the largest single political group after the election, with 22 councillors, while independent councillors number 21.

Former council convener Bill Lobban has been elected Independent group leader, but not all independent councillors have signed up to his leadership.

That raises the stock of the Liberal Democrats, with Inverness Ness-side member Alasdair Christie at the helm, and the Greens, led by Aird and Loch Ness councillor Chris Ballance.

Both could hold the power as potential king-makers, with 15 and four members respectively.

The Conservatives have 10 seats in the chamber and, according to new co-leader Helen Crawford, speaking earlier this week, are keen to co-operate with other groups.

An announcement on the formation of a new administration could come at any time – keep an eye on our website for any updates.

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