LABOUR leader Anas Sarwar has suggested a change in leadership on Dumfries and Galloway Council is “imminent” after a “temporary” coalition was formed with the SNP eight months ago.

Sarwar was heavily criticised following the council elections last May after repeatedly pledging not to do deals with any other party in order to get into power before going back on that promise.

Scottish Labour went on to form minority administrations in Fife, Stirling and South Lanarkshire - where deals with Conservative and Liberal Democrat councillors granted the party control.

Meanwhile, Labour shook hands with the SNP and independents in Dumfries and Galloway to take joint control of the local authority despite the Tories being the largest group on the council.

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However, Sarwar told ITV’s Representing Border that change is “imminent” with that coalition but declined to clarify whether he is expecting his local government colleagues to let go of council control.

After describing the coalition as a “temporary” arrangement, he added: “Those negotiations are continuing and I believe change is imminent on that in terms of the negotiations in that process on the council.

“It was a temporary arrangement to get them through the process and make sure council services could continue and I think change on that is imminent.

“The local Labour group knows clearly what our position is and we both agree that we have to be consistent with our approach throughout the election campaign and post it that we would have no formal coalitions with either the SNP or the Tories. They are aware of that and they are in the process of enacting that in Dumfries and Galloway.”

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When he was asked whether he had told councillors to pull out of the administration, Sarwar dodged the question and repeated his earlier comments.

SNP group leader Stephen Thompson told The National: “The SNP group in D&G Council works alongside the Labour group and Independent group as part of a three-way administration and we share the leadership and civic roles and all the committee chair and vice-chair responsibilities as proportionately as possible.

"The only material change to the administration so far since May 2022 is the resignation of a Labour councillor which triggered a by-election in the Mid Galloway and Wigtown West ward in December last year.

"However, our commitment has always been to work together on our shared priorities and that remains the case in what we hope can be a stable administration in the face of the challenges ahead.

"If we need to make changes to reflect the share of roles and responsibilities more accurately between the groups, then that will be determined by full council.”

Labour group leader Linda Dorward has been contacted for comment.