LABOUR’S leader in Edinburgh is set to open discussions with a number of parties about potential city council deals but said he will “take on board” an order from central office for formal coalitions to be ruled out.

The SNP was given a mandate by voters to continue its administration of Edinburgh City Council following Thursday’s election – returning 19 councillors and becoming the biggest political group. The party is expected to speak with Labour and the Greens about forming a new council administration in the captial.

Labour, which ran the city in a formal coalition with the SNP in the last term, is now the second-biggest party on the authority with 13 councillors – with the Tories seeing their number halved from 18 to just nine.

To form a majority administration on the city council, parties with at least 32 councillors would need to come to an agreement.

The SNP, which ruled as a minority for part of the last council term in Edinburgh, is thought to favour a majority administration.

READ MORE: SNP Edinburgh's biggest party as Tories half and LibDems double number of councillors

Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar has ruled out his party agreeing “formal coalitions” but it is understood that Edinburgh group leader Cammy Day has started informal discussions with other parties, including the SNP.

But a Labour source told The Herald that the group would struggle to get a deal with either the SNP or the Tories agreed by its councillors even before it would need to be approved by the party’s Scottish Executive Committee.

The Edinburgh Labour group is set to meet later today to agree a way forward.

Mr Day told The Herald that his group will “start discussing with other parties what the numbers are like and who will work with us to deliver Labour’s manifesto”.

He said that in the week leading up to the election, he had spoken to most group leaders in Edinburgh over “are they up for having a discussion”.

Mr Day added: “We will take on board what the party’s final decision is about any arrangements and partnerships with other parties.

“We’ve increased our vote across the city, we’ve got two new councillors, we’ve now the second-biggest group in the council chamber so we will be looking to have these discussions with different parties.

“For me, it’s not a straightforward let’s work with the biggest party, it will be let’s work to see who can deliver Labour’s manifesto and get the best for the city.”

The LibDems, which doubled its number of councillors in the city from six to 12, has ruled out a formal coalition with the SNP following talks at the weekend.

LibDem group leader, Robert Aldridge said his party “remain open to continue our discussions with other parties”.

READ MORE: Scottish LibDems rule out Edinburgh City Council coalition with SNP

He added that during the talks with the SNP, “it became clear that SNP councillors have learned nothing from the difficulties of the last council term and plan to simply continue with their previous approach”.

SNP leader of the council, Adam McVey, has suggested he will continue talks with Labour and the Greens over forming a new administration.

He said: “We emerged from Thursdays election as clearly the largest party, having set out a positive, progressive vision for Edinburgh with a detailed programme to improve our local services.

“We will continue talks with progressive parties about how to take forward the change Edinburgh needs to be fairer, greener and deliver the best for our residents.”