IN what has been dubbed a "sad day for democracy", Labour have taken control of a Scottish council thanks to the support of the LibDems and Conservatives.

South Lanarkshire Council had been run by a minority SNP administration before the local elections on May 5, and the party was again returned as the largest party.

However, the SNP’s 27 seats were not enough to take a majority on the 64-seat council. The support of another party would have been necessary to form an administration.

Instead, Labour won the support of the Tory group (who had seven seats) and the LibDems (who have three) in order to form their own administration.

Labour councillor Joe Fagan was elected the next South Lanarkshire Council leader at a meeting on Wednesday.

Commenting on the results of the council vote, SNP MSP for Rutherglen Clare Haughey said: “Labour have teamed up with the Tories and Lib Dems to form @SouthLanCouncil administration. This is despite @theSNP once again winning the most seats and most votes as well as Rutherglen, Cambuslang and Blantyre voting to kick out the Tories at May’s election.

“Vote Labour, get Tories.”

Her SNP colleague and fellow minister Màiri McAllan added: "A sad day for democracy.

"And for the people of South Lanarkshire who now return to Labour mismanagement - propped up by the Tories - despite having backed the SNP. 

"Labour asked for votes to tackle cost of living - now do dirty deals with the Tories.

The local SNP group claimed Labour had been planning to work with the Tories since before the elections, as they did not stand enough candidates to win a majority outright.

South Lanarkshire's SNP said: "Labour have worked with the Tories, LibDems and an independent to deny the people of South Lanarkshire the SNP administration they voted for. We are deeply disappointed with the result.

"The SNP won the highest vote share across SLC and returned the highest number of  councillors. Labour didn’t stand enough candidates to take the council fair and square.

"Clearly, their intention all along was to rely on the votes of their Tory colleagues.

"Labour are already downplaying and denying their grubby partnership with the Tories, despite their leader boasting they 'voted in a nationalistic route' and a 'Unionist manner'. 

"What this charade shows is that the new Labour-Tory-Liberal administration care more about constitutional politics than good local governance."

Labour council leader Fagan, who insisted the new administration stopped short of a full coalition, described it as "Labour-led but not Labour-only".

He added: "The basis of this administration is a partnership agreement between the Labour and Liberal Democrat groups. An agreement to which the leader of the Independent group is also a party."