A LABOUR council leader will not face a vote of no confidence after Unionist parties “joined forces” to reject the SNP's attempt to trigger one.

Labour, Tories and LibDems came together to vote down an SNP amendment calling for a vote of no confidence in suspended South Lanarkshire Council leader Joe Fagan.

Fagan was suspended from his role in June after he was found to have leaked information to the press for “political gain”.

He was handed a two-month suspension after an investigation by the Standards Commission for Scotland found he had released a list of leisure and culture facilities identified for closure under the previous SNP administration.

Although there was evidence that Fagan “disagreed strongly” with the closure plans, the panel also believed the leak was motivated “at least in part, for political gain” given the backdrop of the Holyrood election.

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At the full council meeting on Wednesday, a report was presented to councillors noting the details of the suspension.

SNP Group Leader John Ross proposed an amendment: “This council is moved to agree a vote of no confidence in the present leader of the council, councillor Joe Fagan."

This was voted down with 26 SNP members voting for, one Green member abstaining, and 34 Labour, Liberal Democrat, Conservative and independent members voting against.

Commenting on the vote, Ross said: “I am disappointed that the Labour/LibDem coalition have once again used Tory votes to cling onto power and protect their disgraced leader.

"Joe Fagan has shown disregard for ethical standards in public life. He is unfit to lead this council.”

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Fagan previously stated: “My conscience is clear. I believe the standards framework in Scotland should go after real wrongdoing”.

The Commission responded to this statement, noting that he “appeared to indicate that he did not understand that there are legitimate reasons as to why certain information is deemed confidential for a period of time and why it should not be disclosed during that period".

During the meeting, Provost of South Lanarkshire councillor Margaret Cooper was questioned by SNP depute leader Maureen Chalmers on why — despite having been one of the original complainers against Joe Fagan in 2021 — she had attempted to withdraw her complaint and provide a character reference for him.

Chalmers shared details of a Freedom of Information request that showed Cooper had withdrawn her complaint in November 2022, after she secured her position as Provost in a deal with Labour and the LibDems.