A new power-sharing alliance was due to take control of Highland Council today after the Independents struck a deal with the Liberal Democrats and Labour.
But the move provoked a furious response from the opposition SNP, who accused the Independents of “betraying” Highland voters and predicted “chaos” at the local authority.
The coalition deal – which was due to be confirmed today barring a last minute collapse in talks – paves the way for Margaret Davidson to be returned as council leader.
The Independent-Lib Dem-Labour pact will enjoy a fragile majority of just four votes, against an opposition comprising the 22-strong SNP group, 10 new Conservative councillors and a lone Green.
SNP group leader Maxine Smith said she had been “astonished” by the behaviour of the 28 Independents, who were left with their pick of coalition partners after the Lib Dems refused to work with the Nationalists or Tories.
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