Independents to join forces with Tories and Lib-Dems on council

PETERHEAD’S newly-elected Independent councillors have joined forces with the Scottish Conservatives and Liberal Democrats in a bid to forge the new administration of Aberdeenshire Council for the next five years.

The decision to amalgamate shattered the SNP’s hopes of taking its own coalition control of the local authority after getting 28 councillors elected on May 3rd.

The previous adminstration was run by the Conservatives and Lib-Dems. Any new administration will have to be in place by Thursday morning - the day of the first full council meeting.

Two Independents refused to team up with the new administration - Mid Formartine’s Paul Johnston and Mearns’ Dave Stewart - with Mr Johnstion saying it was rather brave of the some of the Independents to have entered this agreement. Heading up 14 Tory councillors, Conservative leader Jim Gifford said: “We have reached an agreement in principle to form a constructive Aberdeenshire Alliance for the benefit of the residents and businesses of the Shire.”

With 11 councillors elected, Liberal Democrat leader Martin Kitts-Hayes said: “Our purpose will be to maintain continuity and build on previous successes which have resulted in a well-run, progressive administration over the past five years.”

The Independents’ leader Councillor Norman Smith, of the Central Buchan ward, added: “The Alliance aims to form a stable and strong administration with a majority of Aberdeenshire councillors for the good governance of the council for the next five years.”

There are already murmerings that it will be difficult for three groups of have a political consensus, and predictions made of very tight votes in the months and years to come.

In a letter to the Buchanie this week, unsuccessful Independent candidate Stephen Calder writes: The ‘Change Peterhead’ Group claimed to be ‘non-political’, but they have voted to condemn us to a further 5 years of ToryLibDem rule which will do nothing for our town.”

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