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LibDems join SNP on council administration

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By Gordon Neish
Argyll and Bute
LibDems join SNP on council administration

While on political partnership broke up today, another – it seems – was formed as the LibDem group on Argyll and Bute Council joined the new SNP-led administration.

The headlines may centre on Holyrood, but the drama in Kilmory was just as high – and the consequences potentially just as far-reaching.

Argyll and Bute Council’s former LibDem leader has taken up a depute leader role with the authority’s new SNP-led administration – which unseated him three weeks before.

Kintyre and the Islands Liberal Democrat Councillor Robin Currie was council leader since September 2020 before being ousted earlier this month by Oban South and the Isles SNP Councillor Jim Lynch.

But he will now share the office of depute leader with Dunoon SNP councillor Audrey Forrest after the two were elected unopposed at a full council meeting.

Mid Argyll SNP councillor Jan Brown will be depute to her independent ward colleague, Councillor Douglas Philand, as provost.

The group of councillors now known as the Administration Partnership gained control of the council at a special meeting on Thursday, April 4.

Liberal Democrat councillors have now joined the SNP, Labour, Green and independent councillors on the administration

Chairs and vice-chairs of the council’s core committees were also decided at a scheduled full council meeting today (Thursday, April 25).

The four area committees will be chaired by Cowal SNP Councillor Gordon Blair (Bute and Cowal); Lomond North Independent Councillor Mark Irvine (Helensburgh and Lomond); South Kintyre SNP Councillor John Armour (Mid Argyll, Kintyre and the Islands) and Oban North and Lorn SNP Councillor Julie McKenzie (Oban Lorn and the Isles).

Opposition councillors had proposed Councillors Liz McCabe (Independent, Isle of Bute); Gemma Penfold (Conservative, Helensburgh and Lomond South); Alastair Redman (Independent, Kintyre and the Islands) and Amanda Hampsey (Conservative, Oban South and the Isles) for those roles respectively.

However, after a roll call vote, the Administration Partnership’s nominees were named area committee chairs by a result of 24-11, with one abstention from South Kintyre Independent Councillor Tommy MacPherson.

Councillor Lynch will chair the council’s policy and resources committee while Councillor Forrest is in charge of the community services committee.

The environment, development and infrastructure committee will have Councillor Armour in the chair, while Oban North and Lorn Independent Councillor Kieron Green returns to the chair of the planning, protective services and licensing committee.

See next Friday’s papers for reaction.

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