LABOUR are attempting to “slip into power" in a council with the backing of the Tories and the British Unionist Party (BUP), it has been claimed.

Despite meeting with other parties including the Greens and the SNP, Labour have been accused of attempting to cling onto power in North Lanarkshire, where they have ruled since the authority was created.

The party denies it has struck a deal with others, but a source has told The National Labour councillors are considering putting forward a proposal to block the SNP from forming an administration and would rely on the support of the Tories, the BUP councillor John Jo Leckie and one independent councillor to do so.

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A source familiar with the discussions around the formation of a new administration said Labour were going to bid for leadership of the council and “hope the Conservatives and the BUP will fall into line and allow them to slip into power”.

They added: “[Labour's] view is they'll put forward a proposal and whoever backs it backs it and they think they can form an administration on the basis that they can get the numbers next Thursday, with the BUP, with the independent and with the Tories.

"Labour are of the view if the Tories and the BUP vote with them, then they form an administration next Thursday.

“It’s clear Labour are prepared to put it to the vote.”

The SNP increased their representation on the council by three seats, taking them to 36, just short of the 39 seats needed for a majority.

They were previously the largest group on the council but kept out of power after Labour were voted in by the Conservatives and Independents.

It comes after the BUP councillor John Jo Leckie told The Herald he was approached by Karen Whitefield, a member of the Labour’s Scottish Executive Committee, to discuss whether they would support the party’s bid to stay in power.

The party has strenuously denied his claims but they were backed up by an anonymous Labour source.

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The SNP became the largest party in the local authority area for the first time in its history following Thursday’s poll.

Jordan Linden, the party’s group leader in North Lanarkshire, said the party was holding talks with Labour, the Greens and an independent councillor.

He said: “We have met with everybody except the Tories and the BUP and those conversations are taking place.

“We’re prepared to work with people and we intend to form an administration.”

While Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar has explicitly banned his party’s councillors from entering into formal coalitions with other parties, his warnings have been vague enough to allow them the possibility of making informal arrangements.

Scottish Labour was approached for comment.