Paterson: I couldn’t risk tapestry ‘no’

Councillor Davie Paterson
Councillor Davie Paterson

Councillor Davie Paterson is this week refuting claims he backed the Tweedbank tapestry to protect his £7,000-a-year portfolio position.

And he told the Hawick News this week that he gave the project the thumbs up after council leader David Parker threatened to withdraw funding for the Heart of Hawick.

For months Mr Paterson claimed he would not support the tapestry bid but at December’s full council meeting he performed a stunning U-turn by backing the scheme.

And this week he told the Hawick News: “Before the meeting, when I was still going to vote no, David Parker said to me ‘Heart of Hawick’, I was astonished. I just could not risk damaging one of the best facilities in the town. That is why I voted for the tapestry to go to Tweedbank. David Parker would pull the plug on Heart of Hawick in a minute and Teviotdale Leisure Centre also. I was extremely concened that failure to support the tapestry could have disastrous consequences for the town.

“I really do think the Hawick councillors who voted against the tapestry have done the town no favours and may have jeapordised future council funding. One councillor even suggested to me that if they’d known some of the Hawick members were going to vote against it they would not have backed the council funding for the Wilton Lodge Park project.”

However, responding to Mr Paterson’s claims, Mr Parker said: “Mr Paterson’s claims are total and absolute nonsense. He had a free vote on this and was entitled to vote any way he wanted. He is an executive member and normally executive members are expected to vote a certain way. However, in this case, Mr Paterson had a free vote and he chose to back the tapestry bid.

Administration councillors Watson McAteer and Stuart Marshall vetoed the tapestry bid and Tory George Turnbull also voted against it.

And according to Councillor Paterson, Mr McAteer and Mr Marshall could find themselves in hot water over the way they voted.

But this week, Mr McAteer said: “When I agreed to join the administration, I made it clear that as I was an Independent member there would inevitably be times when I would not be able to support it.

“We will have to see what the New Year brings but I remain committed to helping those who need representation and support.”