THE Labour group intends to seek a mandate to become a minority administration at Clackmannanshire Council, despite acknowledging that it is in a "no win situation".

It will call a special council meeting in order to do so and has cited the need to keep democracy and community input at the heart of the local authority.

Since the SNP-led administration tendered its resignation earlier this month, Labour councillors have been gathering information to decide if they can take the council forward.

Leader of the group, Councillor Bobby McGill, said: "When the SNP dropped their bombshell, the Labour group consulted with a wide range of people for advice and opinion on whether we should accept the administration. 

"There was general agreement that if we were to look at it from an entirely political advantage, we shouldn't touch it with a barge pole. 

"The reason being that we would end up being blamed for having to take the hard decisions the SNP had run away from. 

"Equally, we were told that when we accepted the responsibility as councillors we had a moral duty to do our best when things got tough. The community placed their trust in us to act in their best interest and not shirk that responsibility.

"What everybody agreed was that no matter what we decided we were in 'a no win situation'."

Had Labour decided against taking over, it could have led to accountants from Audit Scotland taking control, with no democratic input.

Cllr McGill added:"This could well have been 'a nail in the coffin' of Clackmannanshire Council's future as an independent authority."

The SNP group resigned on Thursday, May 12 – saying they were "unable to command a majority" on Clackmannanshire Council, after proposals to change the council's standing orders were pushed through at a full council meeting.

Without the backing of independent Councillor Archie Drummond, presently suspended for six months, the SNP were unable to repel the motion due to votes from the Labour group and Conservative Councillor Alastair Campbell.

At the time, the group said it is vital those in power have a "degree of control" over appointments and that their position had been made untenable. 

Cllr McGill, who has said no coalition has been formed with Cllr Campbell, has since criticised his counterpart, saying they were walking away from making difficult financial decisions.

He said: "Does any one really think that the SNP administration walked out on their responsibilities to the people of Clackmannanshire over losing a vote on procedure? They used the opportunity to run away from the difficult decisions that face us and which should have been dealt with over the past four years. 

"Between cuts from Westminster, cuts from Holyrood, and an inept and incompetent administration, the SNP have spent some £15 million pounds of reserves, not to spend to save – not to bring our base budget down, but to put off making the difficult or unpopular decisions that all other councils in Scotland have been making."

Meanwhile, leader of the SNP group Councillor Les Sharp has defended their record and said: "It has taken nearly two weeks for the Labour group and their Tory ally to get their act together and call for a special meeting of the council. "During that period, the business of the council has been suspended whilst they have horse traded and prevaricated.

"Even now, we have yet to be formally notified of a special meeting and have only learned of this through the Alloa Advertiser. This shows the level of contempt which this Labour/Tory coalition have for their fellow councillors and the democratic process."

He added: "Whilst we have been busy maintaining services and protecting jobs and vulnerable communities for the last four years, the Labour and the Tories in Clackmannanshire have sat back and contributed absolutely nothing.

"We have pursued a clear financial strategy which has enabled us to protect jobs and services and offset the worst effects of the Tory/Labour austerity programme.  

"We need to know if this coalition will do the same and if not, they need to let us know what horrors they have in store for us."

The SNP are asking Labour to maintain their commitment of no compulsory redundancies within the council and what services do they intend to cut/maintain over the next 12 months. 

They will also ask if they will finance their plans through the SNP budget or one of their own, while seeking assurances on council tax levels

Cllr Sharp added: "They can attack the SNP and try to deflect attention from their alliance but we will not allow them to do so. That is why the SNP will vote against any Labour or Tory nomination for provost. 

"We will do this in order to flush out the alliance which clearly exists between them. 

"By applying our eight votes, the Labour Party will need the support of the Tory to ensure that they gain control of the council. If this happens, the people of Clackmannanshire will not forgive and they will not forget."

Cllr McGill has made a commitment to engaging with services within the council to reduce the base-line budget.