THE SNP has taken the leadership at Clackmannanshire Council, saying "someone has got to step up to the plate".

It announced its intention to take the helm during a meeting held at Kilncraigs on Thursday (June 1).

The party's Councillor Tina Murphy was appointed provost – a move endorsed by Labour and the Conservatives – Councillor Les Sharp is council leader and Councillor Archie Drummond his depute.

The decision was taken after a number of discussions between political parties, which had seen the SNP trying to secure a partnership with Labour.

However, after feeling it was reaching an "impasse with everybody" it decided to move towards taking on the administration.

Cllr Sharp, group leader, said: "Someone has got to step up to the plate and take leadership and as a group we had long discussions about it.

"And we decided that as the largest group, there was an expectation from everyone out there that elected us, that we were the largest group so why are we not doing it.

"But [it was] still quite a difficult equation when you look at eight-10 in just a numbers game, to kind of bite that bullet and go forward, but we did."

The SNP is keen to pick up where it left off: taking forward the Making Clackmannanshire Better (MCB) workstream, focusing on education, childcare services, housing and engaging with the community.

With a make-up of eight councillors to five Conservative and five Labour, it will be looking to the other parties.

Cllr Sharp said: "We have no formal support so we are a minority in the strictest sense, that there's nobody tagged on at the back of us.

"We're probably a bit unique, I think, in Scotland where there's three distinct parties and nothing else.

"It's not been an easy choice because you know you're fighting to try and get people to collaborate with you now, and that's what we hope that people will see that what we want is not an SNP-led charge to the front." 

Co-operation is key for Labour, with leader Councillor Dave Clark saying they are committed to doing the best for Clacks.

He said: "What they will find from us, and what we displayed publicly both at the last meeting and at this meeting, it we are on the high ground in terms of being able to say we are cooperating with other parties.

"That doesn't meant to say that we will do everything that the SNP asks of us, because the public would ask of us that we're also in opposition.

"But, the SNP and the Conservatives will find that we are interested in good policies for Clackmannanshire and will support any good policies that they bring forth."

This is echoed by the Conservatives, who will be keeping local people at the forefront and went into last week's meeting on that basis.

Leader, Councillor Bill Mason, said: "We have had quite a number of discussions with SNP and with Labour and I think what we want to emphasise is that, obviously the people of Clackmannanshire have given us a very clear message that they want cooperation.

"And they want to see the council taking decisions that are absolutely right for Clackmannanshire, for the people of Clackmannanshire."

He added: "We are very keen to ensure that the wishes, if you like, of the people in Clackmannanshire are reflected as much as we possibly can."