Press Release issued May 2015 after the Liberal Democrats made the Council's Administration fall, by pulling out of the Alliance.
From the Highland Council SNP Group:
“After having had the weekend to reflect, I would like to comment that we are continuing to work closely together with our Council colleagues to ensure the Council has a stable Administration for the next two critical years. We will not, under any circumstances, re-engage with the Liberal Democrat Group. Since the General Election and the total demise of their MP’s in the Highlands I have met with the Lib Dem Group Leader Cllr David Alston, on several occasions confirming our stable status as an Administration. He reassured me every time that it was business as usual. I trusted him and his Group to put the people of the Highlands before party politics therefore I was totally shocked when I heard the news of their abandonment of the Council’s Administration, from the press and had to seek out their leader for confirmation before I would believe it. I feel, not only let down and betrayed by someone I had a great deal of respect for, but also completely at a loss to understand why the Liberal Democrats would do this to the Highlands at a time when the Council is performing so well.
There are only two years to go in this Administration and we will be bringing forward projects that would bring huge benefits to the Highlands, such as the City Region Deal, the Scottish Cities Alliance and new forms of local taxation to mention but a few. Additionally one of our main focuses will be taking forward an anti-poverty agenda, working together with our Council partners, newly elected SNP MP’s and the Scottish Government.
I do not subscribe to the Lib Dem line that it is a bad thing to be in the same team as those at the “top table”. Surely, it is better to be able to negotiate with people you already have a common interest with than people you do not?
I categorically refute the ludicrous claims by Lib Dem Leader David Alston that the SNP in Highland Council have always aligned themselves with Scottish Government policy, as this is simply not true. It does stand to reason that having the same ideology with the SNP Scottish Government, what they think is best for Scotland is very often going to coincide with what the SNP Highland Councillors think is good for the Highlands, but on occasion this can and does differ. For instance, in the ‘Armed Police’ debate, the motion to oppose routinely arming police on our street was seconded by an SNP Member and voted through by more SNP Members than Lib Dem Members, contrary to the perceived wish of the Scottish Government and the spin of the Lib Dems in their recent press release.
Often in planning debate SNP Councillors lodge motions against windfarms and win. These are regularly then upheld by Scottish Government when they are appealed by the developer. I, myself, did the latter for a windfarm in my own ward and the decision was upheld.
In SNP Standing Orders each and every one of us has a mandate to vote on a principle that is close to our heart – a conscience vote, which is different from the majority view of the Group, so to say we simply follow Scottish Government dictats is wrong on so many levels, but we do so where it serves the interests of the Highland people. There are indeed many examples of this, the latest being our full support and co-operation with the measures brought forward by the SNP Scottish Government in mitigating the diabolical new Welfare Reform agenda from the Tory-Lib Dem government in Westminster, which would otherwise have severely detrimentally affected our constituents.
I am confident that the people of the Highlands will support a Council Administration, which has their interests at heart and not one whose sole interest is in deflecting people’s attention away from their disastrous performance in the General Election and their continuing problems with issuing blatant misinformation both locally and nationally."