Hustings reveals much on plans of four Elgin election candidates

Council candidates Morvern Forrest, Alex Griffiths, Ramsay Urquhart and Kirsty Reid.

The Conservative candidate in the forthcoming Elgin City North by-election has made it clear that he will not join the Independent/Tory administration group if elected.

Alex Griffiths told a Hustings audience at the Drouthy Cobbler in Elgin on Saturday that if elected he would sit in opposition at the local authority alongside party colleagues Douglas Ross and James Allan.

Councillor Ross was dismissed from the administration group last month while Councillor Allan later resigned, leaving new Convener, Allan Wright, as the only Tory member of the troubled coalition.

At the same Hustings, organised by the Moray Women for Independence group, SNP candidate Kirsty Reid made it clear that while she lived on Wittet Drive, a street that would be affected by administration plans to create a new approach road into Elgin, she had not yet decided where she would stand on plans for the road.

The SNP candidate came under strong pressure from UKIP candidate Ramsay Urquhart over her stance, while he in turn was pressured on if he agreed that EU immigrants could become vital in a future Moray economy.

Mr Urquhart insisted that he would “have no problem” with EU immigrants provided they arrived to fill specific needs in the community.

Meanwhile the Moray Greens candidate Morvern Forrest also spoke out strongly against administration policies over the approach road, saying it was time that years of debate and a spend of £3.8million in just planning the road came to an end.

Missing from the Hustings was the Scottish Labour candidate Craig Graham and independent candidate Sandy Cooper, both of whom declined an invitation to attend.

A spokeswoman for the organisers said: “I commend each candidate for their courage in taking part in the event and feel our group in turn has given all four some service in providing the opportunity to do so.

“The chairperson, Diane Smith, proved an excellent choice to facilitate the conversation and debate, bringing intelligence and humour to proceedings.

“Many thanks to Diane for stepping up to chair an event that is the first of its kind for our group and not only doing us a great service but also demonstrating courage in taking on what could only be viewed as a step into the relatively unknown.

“Whilst all the candidates should be praised for their willingness to step up and take part, it’s rather a sad reflection on politics at a local level that this to date is the only Hustings that has been organised in the run up to the Elgin City North by-election.”

Polling will take place on Thursday, December 11.  The by-election was called following the resignation of Labour Councillor Barry Jarvis.

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