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Richard Lochhead condemns bid to takeover Moray Council

By Ewan Malcolm

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MSP Richard Lochhead has condemned a bid to seize control of Moray Council from the SNP.

Richard Lochhead has condemned the takeover bid.
Richard Lochhead has condemned the takeover bid.

The Conservatives and the Moray Alliance Group have combined in an attempt to offer a change of administration. The group stated that the SNP has too few elected members following the resignation of SNP councillor Paula Coy recently.

Mr Lochhead said: "It is beggars belief that the Tories could be ushered back into power in Moray just six months out from the council elections. No doubt their aim will be to bring back their old, tired anti-Scottish Government rhetoric, and to destabilise the council again.

"Folk in Moray remember that these same Tory councillors were in administration only a few years ago but walked away because they were completely unable to work with others for the good of Moray. The SNP group stepped up, showed leadership, and has steadied the ship since then.

"One of the councillors now backing the Tory group previously quit the party describing his colleagues as right wing extremists.

"No doubt many people in Moray will be appalled by the Tories' political games at a time serious leadership is needed."

Independent councillor for Speyside and Glenlivet, Walter Wilson, resigned as a Conservative in 2017 following planned cuts in that year's budget.

Speaking in 2017 Mr Wilson said: "I am no longer a Conservative, which was a tough decision to make.

"But I couldn't just sit there and listen to extreme right-wing views, and it all came to a head when my colleagues were discussing what they wanted to cut.

"It felt like Speyside Glenlivet was going to be badly affected, and it led to a big argument and some irreconcilable differences.

"I just said that was it, I couldn't vote for a budget like that.

"There are a core of right-wing extremists who have made life difficult for some of the Conservatives in the group and the Independent members of the administration."

Cllr Wilson has backed the latest takeover bid as he says stability for the upcoming budget is needed.

He said: "Whilst I resigned from the Conservatives in 2017, I have never been on the same political wavelength as the SNP.

"When asked if I would support the bid, I agreed as I think stability is needed for the upcoming budget, and with only 7 councillors out of 25, the current administration would find this difficult."

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