SNP group suspended as council row escalates

The SNP group in Argyll and Bute has been temporarily suspended by its national officials because of the rainbow coalition formed yesterday, the BBC has reported.

A story here states that because the deal had not first been approved by the party’s national executive, the group has, technically, been suspended, but it is widely expected the deal will receive approval.

An SNP spokesman is quoted as telling the BBC: “The policy democratically passed by the SNP’s National Council in 2007 requires our council groups to seek approval of the party’s National Executive Committee before entering into formal coalition arrangements.

“The group has not followed that procedure, and therefore as a matter of course has been suspended in the meantime.”

Earlier today the SNP leader of the council, James Robb, issued a statement saying he did not anticipate any problems with the national executive.

The new power-sharing arrangement at the Lochgilphead-based authority has led to a bitter row; the three-strong Argyll First group resigned from the coalition less than 24 hours after it was announced, issuing a statement saying in the 12 months since the election they had been undermined and accusing Cllr Robb of ‘underhand’ behaviour.

Cllr Robb then retaliated with his third press statement in less than 24 hours:

I realised it would be a challenge for Conservative* councillor, Donald Kelly to work with his Conservative colleagues but hoped it could be resolved. I am surprised this statement hasn’t come from the Argyll First Group Leader, Councillor Philand (perhaps you should check if he agrees).

I have no interest in personalising this issue but would correct some of the facts.

I welcome innovative thinking but no such model was presented to me. (perhaps Cllr Kelly may supply it to us all)

The Administration is open and democratic. All decisions are made at meetings of all members. The decision to enlarge the administration was made at such a meeting yesterday. All three Argyll First members declined to attend despite being aware of the important decision we faced.

I wish our former colleagues well and hope they will be able to resume the spirit of openness and consensus we formerly enjoyed in their new role so we can again work together in the best interests of the people of Argyll and Bute.

* Election records show that Cllr Kelly stood as a Scottish Conservative and Unionist candidate in the May 2012 elections.

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