>> 6 May 2013
Speaking in response to Cllr Fergus Hood's decision to leave the Aberdeenshire Council SNP Group and to join the Liberal Democrats, SNP Shadow Council Leader Cllr Hamish Vernal said:
“Cllr Hood, like the rest of the group, was upset about the SNP not being able to move into the administration of the Council last year despite having our best ever results and, by a long distance, having the most seats and the strongest mandate of any of the parties in Aberdeenshire.
“That would have been the correct democratic procedure. However for the rest of the 27 strong group we are entirely focused on the future and being able to lead the Council at the earliest opportunity, as well as making a constructive contribution for our constituents.
“While we're obviously disappointed by what is clearly a personal rather than a political decision, we will continue to work with Cllr Hood for the good of the people of Aberdeenshire and through the Yes Campaign in the lead up to the 2014 independence referendum."
The SNP remains the largest political grouping on Aberdeenshire Council, with 27 Councillors.