SCOTTISH Tories have boasted that they “removed the SNP” from power in East Renfrewshire – by helping to install a minority Labour administration.

At the local election earlier this month the SNP secured the largest number of councillors in the area with six elected, while the Tories and Labour each won five representatives.

Prior to the election East Renfrewshire had been ran by a combination of SNP and Labour councillors. But ahead of the May 5 ballot, Anas Sarwar said he would not allow Scottish Labour councillors to enter coalitions with the Tories or SNP – so repeating the old arrangement was off the cards.

READ MORE: East Renfrewshire council: SNP locked out by Labour amid independents deal

But on Wednesday night Labour were voted in as a minority administration alongside two independents – with the backing of the Tory members key to their success.

Labour abstained on the vote as the independent members voted in the Tory councillors as deputy provost and chair of the audit and scrutiny committee, as well as the licensing committee.

Councillor Tony Buchanan, the SNP group leader and former council chief, accused the two parties of “getting the Better Together band back together”.

“It beggars belief that, on the very day that Sue Gray’s report slammed the Tories for lockdown parties, East Renfrewshire Labour thought the best option was to do a backroom deal with Boris Johnson’s toxic Tories,” he said.

“Anas Sarwar and Jackie Baillie said no to any deals or pacts, yet Labour are perfectly happy to be propped up by Tory votes in East Renfrewshire, and across Scotland,” Buchanan went on.

The National:

“We will provide rigorous scrutiny in opposition, but voters will not forgive or forget Labour bashing the Tories during the campaign then getting into bed with them straight afterwards.”

Meanwhile, Labour’s new council leader Owen O’Donnell suggested that the working arrangement was an example of “grown-up politics”.

“This council has a good reputation for collaboration with previous administrations by putting politics aside and putting people first,” he said. “Having reviewed both opposition parties’ manifestos, it is clear that we have more in common that unites us than divides us.

READ MORE: Every Scottish council with a Tory-Labour deal - see the full list

“There is no reason to believe that grown up politics cannot survive. I urge all parties of this chamber to work with us to help deliver the services and support that our community deserves.”

In their announcement about the minority administration, East Renfrewshire Labour proudly showed a graphic featuring Conservatives as “opposition”.

But the Tories were quick to claim their part in the Labour victory.

“Scottish Conservative councillors remove the SNP from power in East Renfrewshire,” one of their councillors, Andy Morrison, boasted in a graphic on social media.

“In an agreement which sees Conservative group members assume responsibility for several council positions, the Conservatives have provided key support to install a new administration in East Renfrewshire Council,” he wrote.

“And in doing so, we’ve locked the nationalists out of power.

“We will deliver on shared policy objectives, such as challenging the Scottish Government's savage cuts to local government finances, improving local amenities delivering better value for money for taxpayers and giving pupils the support they need so all can reach their full

“Our supporters voted to stop the SNP, and that is what we have achieved.”

The news came as Labour seized control of Edinburgh council with backing from the Tories, despite the SNP also being the largest group there.

Glasgow’s council leader Susan Aitken said: “Labour aren’t really in ‘control’ in Edinburgh though. Or Fife, or Stirling, or East Ren etc.

“They’ve bagged the senior positions but they now have to rely on right-wing Tories for every. single. vote. The Tories are basically now a major shareholder in Scottish Labour.”