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LIB DEMS LINK TO INDEPENDENTS AND SNP

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The Liberal Democrats, whose two Scottish councils will be abolished next year, have joined minority administration...
The Liberal Democrats, whose two Scottish councils will be abolished next year, have joined minority administrations in two of the country's new unitary authorities.

And 21 years of Tory rule in Strathclyde's Eastwood district ended last week when the new East Renfrewshire UA elected a minority Labour administration.

The Liberal Democrats currently have overall control of Annandale and Eskdale DC (in Dumfries and Galloway region) and North-East Fife DC (in Fife region), both of which are to be merged into unitary regions next April. They are also junior partners in minority administrations, with Independents in Borders RC and with the Scottish National Party in Grampian RC.

The 6 April local elections gave Labour overall control of 20 Scottish unitaries, Independents three and SNP three. Three councils are hung.

The hung Aberdeenshire UA, comprising most of Grampian region last week elected a Lib Dem/Ind administration, with Colin Millar (Lib Dem, Gordon) as convener and Raymond Bissett (Ind, Gordon) as vice-convener. Both beat SNP candidates by 28 votes to 14. The Lib Dem group leader is Audrey Findlay (Gordon).

The hung Dumfries and Galloway UA is expected to be run by a non-Labour coalition. Regional convener Allan Baldwick (Ind, Annandale and Eskdale) was elected to the chair, beating Labour by 47 votes to 22. Denis Male (Lib Dem, Annandale & Eskdale) beat Labour and the SNP for the vice- convenership. The non-aligned group leader is John Dowson (Ind, Nithsdale).

In hung East Renfrewshire UA, the abstention of Independent Ian Pearce last Wednesday ensured the election of Renfrew DC Labour leader Owen Taylor as convener, with Liberal Democrat support. Mr Taylor beat Tory Ian Hutchison by 10 votes to nine.

No decision was taken on appointing a vice-convenor.

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