Moray could be set for a new approach in the council chamber – but only if the SNP can agree a way forward to majority rule with other groups.
The Buckie by-election victory for the SNP’s Sonya Warren saw her party become the largest single group – and as such they have the right to form an administration.
However, with the 26-member local authority now on a knife edge with no group able to command an overall majority, the leader of the SNP group, Pearl Paul, has said that she will be seeking talks through the Easter Holiday and beyond with a view to cutting a deal for a “stable, reliable and progressive” administration.
Hopes are being raised over the future with renewed belief that the ‘Rainbow Alliance’ system first suggested by Councillor Douglas Ross through insideMoray in December could yet become a reality.
Following a meeting of the SNP group on Monday, Councillor Paul said: “On Thursday we saw the public vote for change with Sonya Warren being elected as an SNP Councillor for Buckie with a huge 60% of the vote.
“That vote has made the SNP the largest single group of councillors in Moray and the vehicle for that change. However, we are not the majority in the Council and have already begun speaking to other councillors in Moray seeking a way forward and that will continue over the coming days.
“The SNP will seek to lead a stable, reliable and progressive administration, which is what we believe the public in Moray are demanding and that also requires other councillors to stand up and be counted. The Council’s Leadership has been on a shoogly peg for a long-time and it is time for change.
“Successive Moray Council Administrations have become more distant from our communities and we want to redress that balance.
“The SNP has consistently supported our local schools, voted against class-size increases, supported low wage families and the most vulnerable in our society and that is the basis on which we will continue to work.”
Should no agreement be reached it would leave the current independent administration in charge – but without the ability to command an overall majority they too will find it difficult to press through their policies.
Last night it was emerging that plans by the nationalists to form a new administration was drawing favour from other councillors – with Tory councillor Douglas Ross saying that their proposals appeared to be along the “Rainbow Alliance” lines that he had first suggested in an insideMoray Editorial at the end of last year.
Councillor Ross said: “I think it is right that the SNP take their time before forming an administration as it is an important step to take – and it is also a step people in Moray would expect from the largest group on the council.
“Their comments about a stable, progressive administration sound very much like the Rainbow Coalition I mooted to all Moray Councillors back in December. These talks did not progress but I would be happy to discuss my proposals with the SNP in the hope that a new style of working can be found to change the entire make-up of the Council.”