Talks launched over who will form a Scottish Borders administration

Monday May 9th 2022


Written by Local Democracy Reporter, Paul Kelly

The political future of Scottish Borders Council hangs in the balance as talks are launched this week in a bid to form a new administration.

There are set to be a series of delicate discussions in the coming days after last week’s local elections led to no one political party winning overall control.

The make-up of the council’s 34 wards has been largely unaltered after the votes were counted on Friday.

The Scottish Conservative Unionist Party again has the largest number of councillors with 14, one less than in 2017; the Scottish National Party has nine, up one; Independents have seven, down two; the Scottish Liberal Democrats have three, up one, and the Green Party captured one ward.

Now who will form an administration is dependent on which of the groupings can forge ahead with an agreeable alliance.

The independent grouping will be heavily involved in those talks.

Independent Councillor Watson McAteer, re-elected for the Hawick and Hermitage ward, believes “all options are on the table”.

He said: “We are wanting to have conversations over what the art of the possible might be and if there is any hope of working with any of the political groups to form an administration to help our communities.

“If all the independents can work together then it’s a question of whether we can work alongside one of the parties to form an administration.

“We are at a very early stage and there have only been tentative conversations so far. The other alternative is that we just remain an independent group and do what we can for our communities but we are open to discussions.

“There’s no specific timescale to this but hopefully it can be sorted relatively quickly. It’s in no-one’s interest to let it drag on. I’d like to think there can be something on the table by the end of the week.

“No-one party can hold power on its own, they need to have an alliance and the question is will it be some or all the independents, some or all the Lib Dems and the Green member. They will all be having conversations.”

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