The Conservative councillor for Elgin City South, James Allan, has confirmed that he has formally resigned from the ruling administration at Moray Council.
Councillor Allan has notified the Convener, Stewart Cree, of his decision in a letter that said he would no longer be part of the administration group from immediately after the Special Meeting of the Full Council on Tuesday.
In a statement released this morning Councillor Allan revealed that the first he heard of the dismissal of colleague Douglas Ross from the administration was when he heard it on the radio.
Councillor Allan said: “I want to be a strong councillor representing the people who elected me in Elgin South.
“I feel I did that when I listened to the majority of residents over their concerns with the Western Link Road – but by voting with other councillors to successfully refuse the application it would seem I was at odds with the Independent-led administration.
“I also voted with opposition councillors against the hastily arranged moves for the Convener and Leader to switch roles.
“Both these decisions confirmed to me that the administration is not interested in listening to the public and seems to believe it is their way or no way.
“I also felt the entire episode of removing Councillor Ross from the administration and the way the news was conveyed to him was unacceptable.
“No one from the Independent group thought to inform me of their decision and I had to find out about it on the radio.
“Recently I have found myself more and more at odds with positions taken by the Administration and I feel I can best represent the views of the people who elected me by sitting as part of a Scottish Conservative group with Councillor Ross out with the administration.”
Following the announcement Councillor Ross said: “I know this was not an easy decision for James to reach and I made it clear to him I would support him whether he stayed in the administration or left.
“Clearly he has not been comfortable with the direction or behaviour of the administration lately and has decided to remove himself from that group.
“I want to look forward now and assure people in Moray that James and I will look at each issue on its merits and if it’s right for Moray we will support it whether it comes from the administration, the opposition or from anyone else.
“The last few weeks have seen the reputation of Moray Council tarnished and comments that it is in turmoil have not been too wide of the mark.
“It’s up to councillors to now work out our differences and provide the real leadership that people in Moray want. The public will care less about who wears the Convener’s chain or who chairs committees if decisions are made in the best interests of the people who send us to represent them in the council chambers.
“James and I are committed to doing that and will work with any like-minded councillor who wants to achieve the same.”