Published: 07/06/2018 06:57 - Updated: 07/06/2018 09:46

SNP group and Labour councillor reject leader's claims

SNP co-leader Graham LeadbitterJohn Divers was elected at stage 1 in Elgin SouthSNP Co-Leader Graham Leadbitter (right) and Labour Councillor John Divers (below) have issued a joint rebuttal to comments made by the Moray Council's Independent Leader on administration negotiations.

In his statement the Council Leader, George Alexander, is quoted as saying: "At close of play on Friday, June 1, as a result of intense negotiations, it seemed likely that nine SNP councillors, one Labour councillor, one conservative councillor and seven independent councillors would form a rainbow coalition with the present Convener, Councillor James Allan, remaining in post and the present Leader, Councillor George Alexander, stepping down to be replaced by an SNP councillor. Some members needed the weekend to check with their political masters."

However, SNP and Labour insist this statement was "wide of the mark" and that the proposal had been taken away for consideration over the weekend with no commitment at that stage.

Cllr Leadbitter said: "With any negotiation positions are proposed and considered, at no point had we accepted the proposal alluded to by Cllr Alexander.

"We said we would give it serious consideration, which we did, and came back with an alternative.

"Negotiating over the airwaves, as Cllr Alexander has, is no way to try and build trust and form stable working relationships and he does himself no favours with these erroneous comments."

Cllr Divers added: "The way the negotiations have hinged around the protection of one individual’s position in the council rather than the best outcome for Moray has been the undoing of these discussions.

"At the end of the day we’d gone away to look at things over the weekend. No agreement had been reached. It was right to go away and look at it before reaching any conclusion."

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