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Last Updated: Tuesday, 8 May 2007, 17:41 GMT 18:41 UK
Lib Dems reject Greens talk offer
outside Holyrood
Talks over who will run Holyrood will continue
The Scottish Liberal Democrats have rejected a plea from the Greens to enter into talks on a future SNP governing coalition of Scotland.

Nicol Stephen's party had come under pressure to meet with the Greens on Thursday to discuss the possibility of a rainbow coalition.

The plan was that it would involve the SNP, Lib Dems and the two Green MSPs.

But a spokeswoman for the Lib Dems said that they were "politely declining" the offer.

It is the second time that Labour's former coalition partner has publicly said it would not enter into coalition talks.

The SNP faces going into minority government if the Lib Dems do not enter coalition for the third time at Holyrood.

The election result last week saw the SNP win 47 seats, Labour came second with 46, the Tories were next with 17, the Lib Dems won 16, the Greens two and Margo MacDonald was returned as an Independent.

SCOTTISH PARLIAMENT RESULTS

Party Const Regn +/- Tot
After 129 of 129 seats declared
SNP 21 26 +20 47
LAB 37 9 -4 46
CON 4 13 -1 17
LD 11 5 -1 16
Others 0 3 -14 3

FIND YOUR RESULTS

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The issue of an independence referendum is at the heart of the Lib Dems disagreements with the SNP.

Following the Lib Dem announcement, a Labour spokesman said: "The pressure is on Alex Salmond to see whether he has the character and maturity to form a government."

The party will bide its time while the negotiations were ongoing, he added.

Scottish Labour leader Jack McConnell said that he had refused to accept that a minority SNP administration was now inevitable.

Mr McConnell, who is still first minister, also said he had not considered stepping down as leader.

Zero waste

He said the SNP had the right and the responsibility to seek to form an administration.

But he added: "Should they fail to do so, then clearly as the second largest party, we will take any decision at that time in the best interests of Scotland.

"We are not going to say at this stage that we are withdrawing entirely from the process of forming a new government."

The Nationalists and Greens have been locked in talks all day in Edinburgh over a possible partnership agreement.

Robin Harper and Alex Salmond
Robin Harper and Alex Salmond have begun seeking an agreement

A statement from the Greens said there had been movement on the Greens' top priority of climate change, while the parties agree in policy areas like zero waste and free school meals.

SNP deputy leader Nicola Sturgeon claimed Mr McConnell was still in denial about the result of the Scottish parliamentary election last week.

Earlier she said: "We're still very open to coalition discussions with the Liberal Democrats - we've invited them to get round the table to talk to us without any preconditions."

The traditional "Kirking" of the Scottish Parliament was also taking place at St Giles' Cathedral in Edinburgh with Prince Charles in attendance.

Prince Charles, Duke of Rothesay, attended the blessing service, along with newly elected MSPs, representatives of Scotland's faiths and other guests.


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