THE SNP could be set to lose control of Scotland’s capital city as a Unionist coalition materialises.

The local elections in May saw the SNP returned as the largest party on Edinburgh City Council, winning 19 seats. However, an administration has not yet been finalised as talks over potential arrangements drag on.

The Greens' 10 councillors came to an agreement with the SNP to put forward a proposal for a formal coalition – which is to be voted on by Green members on Tuesday – but that would not reach the 32 councillors needed for a majority on the council.

As such, votes for a council run by the Yes parties would fall three short. That stumbling block might not stop a Labour-LibDem deal, rumoured to have been agreed behind closed doors, with the support of the Tories.

READ MORE: Tories suffer blow in Edinburgh as party slips from second to fifth

The Conservatives would then hold the balance of power in Edinburgh, despite having lost a swathe of their seats in the May vote to come fifth in the local vote. They won nine seats while Labour won 13 and the LibDems 12, meaning the Unionist parties have enough votes to reach a majority.

While Anas Sarwar has publicly ruled out council coalitions with any other parties, that has not stopped them in practice.

A Labour minority administration would hold just one-fifth of the seats on the council, a situation the SNP warned would be “extremely unstable”.

The National:

Councillor Adam McVey (above), the SNP group chief and former Edinburgh council leader, said: “If they unite to put Labour into power, by actively voting for a Labour administration, the Tories and LibDems will be signing up to the Labour group’s agenda and will be accountable to the people of Edinburgh for what that administration delivers. This is especially true for any party that takes up paid administration positions.

“We want to work constructively together, but our residents also deserve a transparent and accountable council, so they should be told the detail in these deals. People will want to know, for example, if policies around no compulsory redundancies and publicly owned provision of services are being protected by all three parties involved.

“If we are forced into opposition by parties undermining the election outcome, we will use our weight in the chamber to hold all three parties to account for the actions of a Conservative and Liberal Democrat-supported administration, on their policies and on what they deliver for our residents.”

The crunch vote will be held on Thursday.