Breaking: SNP and Independents to share power at Highland Council after a deal was reached for the groups to form the political administration with a formal announcement expected tomorrow
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The SNP and Independent groups have agreed to form the political administration of Highland Council.
A formal announcement is expected tomorrow but sources have confirmed that the two groups will enter a coalition together.
Following the local authority election, the SNP are the largest group with 22 seats while the Independents have 20 – together that gives them a majority of five in the 74-member council.
It is the first time the SNP will be in power at the local authority since 2015.
The SNP group is led by Wick and East Caithness Councillor Raymond Bremner and he is now likely to become the Leader of the Council.
The Independent group leader, Badenoch and Strathspey Councillor Bill Lobban is also likely to take a leading role in the administration having already served as Convener.
The difficult negotiations to form the administration were launched after the election but, it is understood, progress was slow because some Independent councillors were reluctant to join with the SNP.
At one point, a deal to form a minority administration involving the Independents, Liberal Democrats and Labour was touted – potentially supported by a confidence and supply agreement with the Conservatives – but nothing came of it.
The first meeting of Highland Council is set to take place in 10 days time on May 26.