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Council falls apart

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By Marc Mclean, Local Democracy Reporter
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Council falls apart

THE joint leadership of Dumfries and Galloway Council has fallen apart – just eight months after being formed.

Labour, SNP and Independent councillors had united to create a ‘rainbow coalition’, which seized control of the local authority after the elections last May.

Labour Group leader Linda Dorward and SNP Group head Stephen Thompson agreed to share the top job as co-leaders.

However, cracks have appeared and “clear political/policy differences” have now resulted in Labour breaking away from the council leadership.

A special council meeting will be held on Friday where Linda Dorward will officially step down as co-leader and instead take up a civic head role, while sole Liberal Democrats councillor and Independent Group leader Richard Brodie is expected to become deputy council leader.

Councillor Dorward said: “It is apparent that there are some clear political/policy differences between Labour and SNP/Independent councillors that has determined it is time for Labour councillors to leave the political leadership side of the council.

“We will still work together with the other groups on common policy issues to build and deliver a better future for all communities large and small across our region.”

SNP group leader Stephen Thompson said that the proposed changes will “more accurately reflect the roles” of the SNP, Labour, and Independent groups.

He added: “We have to respect that each group will have its own priorities, but we work together on the common ground.”

Commenting on the situation, Conservative councillor Andrew Wood described it as ‘clumsy attempt’ by Labour to try and distance themselves from the SNP.

He said: “They are treating the electorate with total contempt, while delivering a dysfunctional administration led by council officers rather than a strong administration.”

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