SNP Names Shadow Administration to Move Aberdeenshire Forward

>> 3 July 2012

SNP Aberdeenshire councillors met today (Monday) on the first day of the summer recess to agree their Shadow Council Administration team.

At May’s elections, the SNP emerged as the largest party in Aberdeenshire in terms of both votes and seats, with twice the number of councillors as the next largest party.  However, a Tory-led coalition of Liberals and Independents, backed by Labour, united to keep the SNP out of administration.

With such a wide-ranging coalition, the SNP Group in Aberdeenshire has decided to name a Shadow Administration to be ready to step in and take over the running of the council.

The key positions are:

SNP Group Leader & Shadow Leader of the Council


Cllr Hamish Vernal (Inverurie & District)

SNP Group Deputy Leader


Cllr Stephen Smith (Peterhead South & Cruden)

Chair of the Group


Cllr Jim Ingram (Central Buchan)

Finance spokesperson


Cllr Fergus Hood (East Garioch)

Infrastructure Services spokesperson


Cllr Rob Merson (Ellon & District)

Housing & Social Work spokesperson


Cllr Anne Allan (Peterhead North & Rattray)

Education, Leisure & Learning spokesperson


Cllr Jean Dick (Mearns)

Scrutiny & Audit spokesperson


Cllr Richard Thomson (Ellon & District)

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

“The SNP Group has spent some time taking stock of where we are and how we can best move Aberdeenshire forward in the interests of its residents.

“Clearly, at a time when frontline services are being cut, when classroom assistants are being removed and when sheltered housing warden cover is being reduced, it is simply unacceptable to suddenly find that the council has underspent to the tune of £20 million.

“That is money which has been taken from the taxpayer on the understanding that it would be used to finance exactly the sort of services which we have seen being cut.  This is just one example of where fresh thinking and a more thorough scrutiny of the council’s budget is required, but I fear we will not get that from the Tory-led coalition.

“The SNP Group is resolved to carry forward the manifesto which gained us 41% of the seats in this council and we will push for our common-sense proposals to be implemented.  Sometimes we will be successful, such as the Public Petitions Committee which we argued successfully for last week; sometimes our suggestions will get voted down, such as our plan for a Budget Monitoring Committee, but we will be an effective Administration-in-Waiting for the people of Aberdeenshire.”

Cllr Joanna Strathdee (Huntly, Strathbogie & Howe of Alford), who has led the SNP Group since the 2007 election, said:

“I’m immensely proud of having led the SNP Group to a position where we are now the biggest party in Aberdeenshire, both in terms of seats and votes.

“Obviously I remain disappointed that the SNP was prevented from forming the new administration but that’s politics and we remain in a strong position as the largest group by far on the council. 

“This is clearly an exciting time in the history of our nation and May’s election results demonstrate that people are willing to put their trust in the SNP to deliver for them at a local level, and I’ll be working hard to transform that into a vote for a positive future for Scotland at the forthcoming Referendum.”

Aberdeenshire East MSP Alex Salmond added:

“Joanna has led the council group in Aberdeenshire with great distinction over these past five years and the Party is extremely grateful to her for her hard work and dedication.

“I have great confidence in the abilities and expertise of Hamish Vernal and wish him great success in leading the largest party in Aberdeenshire.”  

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