THE SNP have urged Labour councillors in North Lanarkshire to “do the right thing” and strike a deal to prevent “chaos” over the next five years.

Scottish Labour has been accused of doing a backroom deal with the Tories to take control of the council, despite the SNP having won the most seats.

Speaking ahead of Thursday’s statutory meeting of the council, SNP group leader Jordan Linden said there is a strong possibility positions on the council could be now determined by a cutting of the cards – which will lead to “chaos” over the next five years.

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He said attempts by the SNP to negotiate with Labour had so far been unsuccessful – but there is still time for a deal to be done.

“I have written again to the leader of the Labour Group to call for negotiations,” he said.

“I would urge Labour councillors to do the right thing and come to the negotiating table ahead of Thursday’s meeting.

“Cutting of cards to decide positions will lead to chaos within the council, and be a complete dereliction of our responsibilities as representatives of the people of North Lanarkshire.

“We were all elected, regardless of party, to represent the needs of our constituents and it is incumbent on all of us to do that, for the 350,000 residents and the 12,500 employees of North Lanarkshire Council.”

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The SNP won 36 seats on North Lanarkshire Council at the May 5 election – gaining three and four more than the Labour Party - but short of the 39 needed for an overall majority.

The Scottish Labour group then announced it will seek to form a minority administration.

In a previous statement Labour group leader Jim Logue said it was not intending to “enter into coalition with any party” – a move which party leader Anas Sawar had vowed to rule out across the country prior to the election.

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However even if the Labour group is supported by all other councillors – one Green, one British Unionist Party and two independents - it will still rely on support from five Tory councillors to succeed.

In 2017, the SNP also gained most seats but was subsequently outvoted for the positions of provost, council leader and both deputes, in a move described as a “Labour and Tory stitch-up”.

Linden said the only thing “not on the table for negotiation” for the SNP is any deal with the Tories. Urging Labour to enter talks, he added: “So let’s work together, across the Council, and freeze the Tories and BUP out - before it’s too late.”

Scottish Labour has been approached for comment.