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SNP Group Back Move to Halt Partisan Press Releases from Council

>> 12 November 2012

SNP councillors in Aberdeenshire are set to give their backing to a proposal to go to the next meeting of Full Council that “party political” press releases should not be issued by Aberdeenshire Council’s Corporate Communications unit.

Scottish Green councillor Martin Ford has tabled a Motion calling for the practice to cease, citing references to the “Aberdeenshire Alliance” – the name given to themselves by the Tory-led coalition – being used to describe council policies.

Commenting, Shadow Leader of the Council Cllr Hamish Vernal said:

“Aberdeenshire Council has become a more political animal than at any time in its history, thanks largely to the Tory-led coalition of Liberals and Independents banding together to keep the SNP – which has twice as many seats as any other political party – out of the administration.

“That may be politics, but that is not a reason to politicise the council’s Corporate Communications output by politicising it.  Yes, those in positions of authority in the council such as the Leader or Committee Chairs absolutely need to explain their administration’s policies and it is right that they are quoted in the council’s press release.  But they are doing so by reason of the fact they are the Leader of the Council or Chair of a Committee – not because they are Leader of the third party in the council or because they are part of a political alliance.

“Never in the past were previous Council Leaders quoted in official releases on the decisions of the Liberal Democrat Group and so it should be for the “Aberdeenshire Alliance”.  Scottish Government press statements don’t talk about “SNP policies” and Westminster departments’ statements likewise don’t refer to Conservative or Lib Dem proposals, but instead refer to Government proposals.

“This is a very concerning new development and needs to be nipped in the bud.”

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