Leader hopes to retain council control for full five year term

Stewart Cree – administration under pressure

MORAY COUNCIL LEADER Stewart Cree remains determined to see out the full five years of the current term in control of the local authority.

The leader of the ruling Independent group has been speaking amid growing speculation over the future direction of Moray Council following the resignation last week of Eric McGillivray – taking the independent group to nine members, two less than the SNP opposition group.

Whilst Cllr Cree’s group are retaining power with the help of two Scottish Conservative members, should the SNP win another seat at the Heldon & Laich by-election forced by Mr McGillivray’s resignation most people expect them to take control until the Scottish local authority elections in 2017.

“I’m not here to hang on to power at any cost,” Cllr Cree insisted when commenting on the current situation, adding: “But I do want to see projects the administration started brought to fruition.

“Over recent months Moray Council has received encouraging reviews from Audit Scotland and this administration is proud of its record – but I cannot speculate on the outcome of the by-election – that would be entirely wrong at this point.”

Adding that “changing horses” in mid-stream never does any good, Cllr Cree hit out at his former administration colleague Douglas Ross, accusing him of doing all he could to help the SNP take control.

He said: “Mr Ross has put the SNP group in a position where they can do very little else but mount a challenge for power.”

While the SNP remained tight-lipped over their thoughts for the future and a date for the by-election yet to be set, the Council leader admitted that the independent group had hoped to convince Mr McGillivray to remain in post.

“I had hoped that he would be able to continue, perhaps after a sabbatical – but he felt it would be better to make a clean break of it,” Cllr Cree said.