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DOUGLAS ROSS: My job as local councillor was one of the best in politics

By Contributor

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By the time you read this all of the votes in the Moray Council elections will have been cast and nervous candidates and their supporters will be waiting to catch a glimpse of the ballot papers as they are run through the electronic counting machines.

Moray MP and Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross arrives at the Alves Hall to cast his vote. ..Scottish Election Polling Day 2021...Picture: Daniel Forsyth....
Moray MP and Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross arrives at the Alves Hall to cast his vote. ..Scottish Election Polling Day 2021...Picture: Daniel Forsyth....

It’s very different to other counts but, as always, the team in Moray led by Moira Patrick do an excellent and efficient job and the 26 councillors who will make up Moray Council for the next five years will be known by early afternoon on Friday.

Of course the three Buckie councillors already know their fate and were elected unopposed as there were not enough candidates to trigger an election.

It’s concerning that in some parts of Moray – and in other areas across Scotland – we can’t encourage enough people to come forward to seek election to represent their local area.

This is something we all need to reflect on as if good people are put off standing for election, our politics is the poorer for it.

For ten years I had the privilege of representing Fochabers-Lhanbryde and it was one of the best jobs I had in politics. You are often the first port of call if an issue needs to be resolved and decisions made by councillors have a huge impact on our lives.

From education to social care, council tax to bin collections, planning to licensing all these areas and many more are under the remit of our councillors here in Moray.

To the councillors who are returned to serve their area again, and to those elected for the first time I wish them all the best for their term in office. And to those who decided to stand down after one term or more; thank you. We didn’t always agree but there was no doubting the commitment all our retiring councillors had to do the best for their ward and Moray as a whole.

A new term in the UK Parliament is starting next week as well with the State Opening of Parliament. This is a grand affair when The Queen or Prince Charles will speak from the throne in the House of Lords chamber and outline the Bills the government plans to introduce over the next year or two.

I remember learning about the State Opening in modern studies at Forres Academy and now all these years later I will watch Black Rod march from the House of Lords to the House of Commons, only to have the door of the chamber slammed in her face.

Then with three loud knocks the door is opened and members of the House of Commons process through central lobby to the Lords Chamber to hear the speech.

It’s a day full of tradition and ceremony, but also an important look forward to what the government hope to deliver in the coming weeks and months.

After the speech in the House of Lords MPs walk back to the Commons and there are then a number of days of debate on various topics included, or not included in the Queen’s speech, before votes on the legislative agenda the following week.

It will be a busy time in Parliament but one I’m hugely honoured to take part in.

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