SNP form coalition administration

THE Scottish National Party has taken control of the council after forming a new administration with the Liberal Democrats and Independents.

And it will be led by Independent councillor David Parker, who has been at the helm of the local authority for the past nine years, while the Lib Dem’s Graham Garvie will be the new Convenor.

Councillor John Mitchell of the SNP will be deputy council leader with responsibility for finance.

Mr Mitchell said: “The SNP group is committed to working hard with our administration partners for the good of the Scottish Borders. We look forward to implementing SNP policies including widening the democratic accountability of SBC.”

The election results earlier this month saw the SNP return nine councillors, while the Independents increased to seven and the Lib Dems slumped to six. Despite losing two councillors, the Tories had the most representatives at SBC in ten.

In a controversial move, the two Borders Party members, Nicholas Watson and Sandy Aitchison, have now pledged their allegiance to the Independents and also become part of the administration.

Michael Cook (Independents) said: “I am pleased that Nicholas and Sandy have agreed to become Independents and that nine Independents will now contribute to the work of the new administration.”

Lib Dem group leader Catriona Bhatia said: “What is important to us is ensuring that our policy programme is at the heart of the new administration’s thinking.”

However, Councillor Jim Fullarton, Conservative group leader, who was involved in early negotiations about continuing a power-sharing agreement with the Lib Dems and Independents, said: “We are disappointed not to be part of the new Administration and saddened by the decisions of our former colleagues in the Independent and Liberal groups.”