May 11 2012 by Johnathon Menzies, Stirling Observer Friday
ONE of the newest members of Stirling Council labelled the news that local Labour and Conservative groups have agreed to share power as unbelievable.
The deal was announced this week following covert negotiations after the May 3 local authority elections.
Labour councillors will assume the roles of provost and council leader, meaning the SNP will lose control of the prominent positions for 2014 – the year of the 700th anniversary of the Battle of Bannockburn and the independence referendum.
The Tories will handle finance and education, including the establishment of a council education committee.
Other key positions will be decided at a council meeting on Thursday.
Newly-elected Forth and Endrick councillor Ian Muirhead – a member of the SNP – branded the two-party agreement shameful.
SNP members, who formed a minority administration in the last council term, increased their share of the 22 available seats from seven to nine last week, the largest share of any party, but have been forced out of power.
Councillor Muirhead, a local farmer, said: “I can’t believe the lengths the Tories will go to in order to oppose the SNP and put their own personal interests ahead of the people of this area.
“People told me they voted SNP because they were sick and tired of this kind of stuff. Honestly it’s unbelievable, shameful.”
Stirling West Conservative councillor Neil Benny accused Nationalist counterparts of having short political memories.
He said: “The hypocrisy of the SNP is the truly amazing thing. They have been in power with us, despite not having the largest number of councillors, for the past four years.
“It is typical that SNP follow the ‘do as we say, not do as we do’ school of political negotiation. With arrogance like that, is it any wonder we couldn’t work with them?”
Labour MP Anne McGuire said: “There has always been a balance of representation over many years at Stirling Council.
“The last SNP administration operated with the tacit support of the Conservative group. Therefore it’s not unusual to have two parties working together in the best interests of the people of Stirling.”