THIS week, I was delighted to receive the support of my colleagues and be elected leader of the Glasgow Labour Group.

Two weeks ago, we were given a very clear message from the voters. They want change. They are fed up with an SNP administration that fails to stand up for this city and fails to deliver even basic services.

Today, as Glasgow City Council meets for the first time since the election, it appears that the SNP and Greens will team up with a ‘cooperation’ agreement to reinstall an administration that just lost 5% from its vote and lost seats across the city.

The deal will likely involve some lucrative paid positions for Green councillors in senior positions. Meanwhile, when criticism over missed bin collections or potholes or closed community centres inevitably mounts, they’ll pretend it has nothing to do with them.

This is a perfect place to apply the duck test.

If it walks like a coalition, talks like a coalition, acts like a coalition, it’s a coalition.

A lame duck coalition.

In the election campaign, our incredible Labour team knocked on thousands of doors. And their priorities were clear: tackling the cost-of-living crisis.

In this city tonight, thousands of children will go to bed hungry. Thousands of families aren’t able to afford their energy bills. These are big challenges, and Labour is ready to play its part.

Labour stood on a manifesto that put tackling the cost-of-living crisis front and centre - by increasing the School Clothing Grant, reinstating the Affordable Warmth Payment to our over-80s, and paying £110 directly to each vulnerable household in the city.

These are all policies that the SNP rejected. They simply offered more of the same.

And more of the same decline in our city centre and in our neighbourhoods. Take a walk around the city now, and you would be blinded by the ‘for sale’ signs that adorn our shop fronts.

As a proud Glaswegian, it breaks my heart to see parts of the city centre look so shabby and dilapidated, so quickly after decades of Labour-led regeneration. We can do better.

Instead of a bustling, vibrant centre of activity and commerce, it is now a testament to a failure of political leadership.

Failure by the SNP in Glasgow, and failure by the SNP in Holyrood.

While the SNP blame the pandemic, we know that it simply exposed the weaknesses brought about by a decade of chronic underfunding. They see the pandemic as an excuse for inaction and failings - not a call to action to right the wrongs of the past.

Labour has the energy, the drive and the hunger to be the champions that Glasgow desperately needs. We have the ideas and the talent to transform people’s lives, and restore our city’s reputation as a world leader.

Today, I will put my name forward to form an administration and become the leader of Glasgow City Council. The agenda and the platform I am standing on is clear, and it is laser-focused on using all of our powers to help the people of Glasgow.

It is up to the SNP and the Greens to decide whose side they want to be on. I know which side I will be on, and that’s the side of the great people of my home city.