We won’t be bullied by SNP government in Edinburgh, says council leader

The Leader of Dumfries and Galloway Council Ronnie Nicholson has pledged that he will not be bullied by the SNP Government in Edinburgh.

Last week the Education Committee (27 May) backed a motion supporting King George V in principle as the preferred option subject to public consultation through a Nithsdale Area Committee Community event and consideration of the detailed costings and a full affordability assessment.  Contrary to press statements by the SNP, the wording of the motion agreed at the Committee had been unanimously backed by SNP councillors at a meeting of the Labour SNP Administration on 26 May. 

SNP councillors then changed their position and voted against the agreed motion in a bid to force the council into agreeing to build the Learning Hub at the Crichton. Council Leader Ronnie Nicholson believes it is clear that SNP Councillors had been ordered to renege on their agreement by SNP bosses in Edinburgh. The Leader revealed that at a meeting with SNP Government Education Minister Mike Russell on 12 May, the Minister had demanded the council build the proposed Learning Hub at the Crichton, but the Leader said the decision would be based on the views of the local community.

Ronnie Nicholson said, “I am disappointed that SNP councillors chose to renege on their position on the Learning Hub they had agreed unanimously at the Administration meeting but it’s clear they were ordered to do by the SNP in Edinburgh.

“I think the people of Dumfries and Galloway will be appalled that SNP Government Ministers are trying to bully the council into building the Learning Hub at the Crichton, even if this goes against the wishes of the people of the region, the views of local teachers and now the majority of councillors on the Education Committee”.

“It’s a shame SNP councillors think it’s ok to take their orders from Edinburgh, and they have form on this, but the people of Dumfries and Galloway will not be bullied”.

“Councillors are elected to represent their constituents and stand up for our region, not bow to orders and I hope in time SNP councillors locally will reflect on this.” 

Commenting on the future arrangements for the running of the council, Ronnie Nicholson added, “The real losers in all this are the people of our region as once again their local council is in the headlines for all the wrong reasons. The SNP have now gone through two administrations in two years and that tells it’s own story about their conduct. In the meantime, Labour will run the council as a minority administration to retain stability and will continue to work across the council to build consensus. We will continue to take decisions based on the needs of Dumfries and Galloway, not Government Ministers in Edinburgh”.

2 June 2014