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Suspension calls after parties make pact

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By Fiona Reid
Dumfries and West
Suspension calls after parties make pact

A FORMER council leader has called on Scottish Labour to suspend its local councillors over an administration pact with the SNP.

However, John Dowson’s call has been met with assurance that the power-sharing agreement for Dumfries and Galloway Council was approved by the party at the highest level.

Mr Dowson said: “I am aware that Labour and the Conservatives have done many deals in the past particularly where they proved to be ‘Better Together’ in opposing the SNP plans for a first and second independence referendum.”

And pointing to Aberdeen where Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale suspended councillors for forming an administration with the Conservatives, Mr Dowson added: “If Kezia suspends councillors for doing deals with the Tories, surely it is even worse when they are now seen to get firmly into bed with the SNP.

“In Aberdeen Labour do deals to keep the SNP out of control – in Dumfries they jump into bed with the SNP – how ridiculous is this?”

Mr Dowson led the council as an independent, but was previously a Labour member.

His challenge has won the support of local Conservative leader Ian Carruthers, who said: “ This is the same feedback I’m getting from the public. As the old saying goes, ‘you reap what you sow’.”

However, Scottish Labour say the coalition deal has the party’s backing.

A spokesman said: “The power-sharing agreement between Labour and the SNP was approved by a working group of Labour’s Scottish Executive Committee.”

Local Labour leader and new council leader Elaine Murray notes the parties have different views on a second independence referendum, but says this ‘should not affect the administration of Dumfries and Galloway Council’.

And she said:”We have formulated a partnership agreement which combines the manifesto commitments and priorities on which each party stood.

“We commit to oppose austerity, and, as far as is possible, protect local services, particularly those supporting the most vulnerable individuals and communities from the effects of austerity.”


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