In a move that will be seen as further blood-letting by the ruling Tory/Independent coalition at Moray Council a key member of the administration has been removed.
Fochabers/Lhanbryde Tory member Douglas Ross was one of the leaders of the administration rebellion that saw plans in the Sustainable Education Review to close schools in Moray defeated earlier this week.
That brought about the resignation as Council Leader by Ross’ fellow Tory councillor Allan Wright – and a move by the administration to withdraw from any further cross-party discussions on the Area Based Review, which was created to inform future council policy.
Now it has been revealed that Councillor Ross has received a letter from the Convener, Stewart Cree, informing him that he has been removed from the administration group because he had “shown no wish to be aligned with the general direction that the administration group has taken”.
The letter added that Councillor Ross had worked against the ambitions of the administration, the letter also saying: “I regret that this course of action has become necessary, however the group can see no way forward until we have made it clear that the views you hold publicly are not those of the administration.”
As well as his open opposition to the threat of closure to Milne’s High School Councillor Ross argued strongly against closure of other rural primary schools.
He has also spoken out several times against the local authority plans to create a west approach road into Elgin – opposition that appears to fly in the face of his position as chairman of the council’s planning committee.
It is believed that the administration will now take steps to remove Councillor Ross from that position – probably before the committee considers the controversial road link next week.
It is not the first time Councillor Ross has fallen out of favour with the ruling administration in his eight years as a councillor.
Following disagreements over policy issues he quit the previous administration in 2009.