SNP politicians have lined up to accuse Fife Labour group of betraying communities.

Fife Council will now be run by a minority administration after Labour secured the support of both Liberal Democrat and Conservative councillors to have their proposals voted through.

The move came despite Labour winning just 20 of the 75 council seats compared to the SNP’s 34 – just four away from an overall majority.

Dunfermline and West Fife MP Douglas Chapman said: “The SNP unquestionably won the council election in Fife, securing far more seats than any other party and finishing just short of an overall majority.

“The SNP made clear that it’s open to working with other progressive parties to ensure communities benefit, and to mitigate the damage of Tory policies. Despite this, Labour has refused to engage and instead resorted to doing dirty deals with the Tories to run Fife Council.

“This is a complete stitch up, and completely betrays communities across Fife who voted to keep the Tories out. Labour will pay a heavy price for this undemocratic and grubby deal which is not in the interests of the people of Fife.”

In a joint press release, four Fife SNP MSPs – Annabelle Ewing (Cowdenbeath); Jenny Gilruth (Mid Fife and Glenrothes); David Torrance (Kirkcaldy) and Shirley-Anne Somerville (Dunfermline) – raised concerns about the new ‘Unionist coalition’.

Ms Ewing said that “every single SNP candidate in my constituency was elected” and the Tories and Labour both lost seats across Fife.

She added: “With no party having overall control, Labour had a choice – support the SNP or work with the Tories – a choice that will have long term implications for the area and the approach that will be taken to the many challenges that lie ahead as we seek to recover from the pandemic, battle Brexit issues and face the mounting cost of living crisis.

“Well now we know that Labour’s dogmatic refusal to allow the people of Scotland a say over their own future is more important to them than opposing the party of the Bedroom Tax, Brexit and Partygate. They’d prefer to go in bed with the party that shut the mines than the party that pardoned the miners.

“Labour’s deal with the Tories on Fife Council runs completely counter to what the folk of Fife clearly voted for.”

At Thursday’s meeting, Fife Labour leader, Councillor David Ross, said their minority administration offered a “much improved governance structure” which offered member-led decision making. We are talking about standing up for local government and the best interest of Fife and Fife Council,” he said. “Although the SNP won the largest number of seats, they only gained 36.9 percent of first preference votes.

“Despite the fact that we are not the largest group on the council, we believe Labour is best placed for a progressive policy for the next five years.”

He added: “We are not able to go into any kind of arrangement with the SNP as we had. We cannot support a party whose government is seeking to destroy local government and want to stand up against that threat. We are talking about standing up for local government and the best interest of Fife and for Fife Council.”

Cowdenbeath Labour councillor Alex Campbell told the Times: “Following the election there were two groups of councillors who were in a position to try and form the administration, given that no group had secured a majority in the elections earlier in the month.

“Both the SNP and Labour put forward an agenda to gain support from the other councillors and I am pleased that Labour got the majority vote on the day.

“For me, the main difference between the groups was that the SNP wanted to form an administration in order to fight for independence and defend the SNP in Holyrood while Labour were clear we would fight for Fife and vigorously oppose the council cuts coming from the SNP in Holyrood.”

Cllr Campbell said it was a priority to get the refuse collections “working properly” and added that he was “appalled” at the state of social care services in Fife.

He continued: “There is no doubt that the pandemic has had a negative impact on services but the continuing cuts being imposed from Edinburgh and their failure to workforce plan go back much further and must be addressed.

“The SNP seem to have run out of ideas and in education simply want to build more bureaucracy, more managers and give more control to the centre.

“We must oppose this damaging power grab and get education back to where it used to be, amongst the best in the world. I am clear Fife Labour will defend services, oppose the cuts and work for more investment into Fife.

“As a minority administration we will depend on others on a vote by vote basis but for me this is better than selling Fife out which was the other option on the table from the SNP.

“Labour will work hard to make this work for every community across the Kingdom.”