Moray councillor quits and sparks another by-election

Eric McGillivray - Hopeman-based councillor resigns
Eric McGillivray – Hopeman-based councillor has resigned

THE RESIGNATION OF one of Moray’s longest serving independent councillors will spark a second by-election in the Heldon & Laich ward in just over two years.

Hopeman-based Eric McGillivray has resigned from his post “for family reasons” and has stood down with immediate effect.

Mr McGillivray was first elected to Moray Council in 2003 in the Burghsea ward before being re-elected in 2007 and 2012 as one of four councillors representing Heldon & Laich. For the last eight years he has served as chairman of the Communities Committee at the local authority – with a main remain that covers council housing.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed my 12 years as a member of Moray Council and the decision to stand down is not one that I have taken lightly,” Mr McGillivray said, adding: “However, due to personal circumstances I have decided reluctantly that it is the right thing to do.

“It has been an honour and a privilege to have served the ward in which I live and to have served the wider Moray community.

“The achievement that gives me greatest pride is the fact that, under my watch as communities committee chairman, we built the first council houses in Moray for many years and that building programme is still continuing.

“It has also given me a great deal of satisfaction that I have helped to ensure that rents for council houses in Moray have consistently been among the lowest in Scotland.”

The Heldon & Laich ward has had to deal with controversy since the 2012 elections returned one Tory, two Independents and one SNP councillor. However, the elected SNP member, Carolle Ralph, resigned within the first year after being subjected to a personal hate-mail campaign.

Joan Stewart, the wife of a defeated SNP candidate at that election, later admitted being responsible for causing Mrs Ralph “fear and alarm” and was ordered to carry out 200 hours unpaid work in the community.

A spokesman for Moray Council said that a by-election would now take place in the Heldon & Laich Ward, one of the largest in Moray and covering the coastal area from Burghead to Lossiemouth and as far inland as Pluscarden.