Furious West Lothian SNP leader defends party refusal to take up places on board

Published date30 June 2022
Publication titleEdinburghLive (Scotland)
Last week Labour councillors accused the party of childish behaviour and " throwing toys out of the pram."

But as the Local Democracy Reporting Service reveals the make-up of the new committee structures, the SNP has again pointed to the "democratic deficit" of having the greatest share of the vote and the most councillors, but minimal representation on committees.

In a motion agreed after heated and acrimonious debate last week the new committee structure was passed.

While the new Policy Development and Scrutiny Panels (PDSP) - Public and Community Safety and Social Work and Health have a make up of four Labour, two SNP and one Conservative the new Economy, Community Empowerment & Wealth Building committee has only one SNP member.

The rest of the committee is made up of three Labour, one Conservative, one Lib Dem and one Independent.

This latest committee takes on the roles of three previous PDSPs, Development and Transport, Voluntary Organisations and Culture and Leisure.

The SNP group is also angry that the Conservative group, despite being reduced to four members, has gained the chair in the monitoring committee, Governance and Risk, chaired in the last term, and now, by Tory group leader Damian Doran-Timson.

The council agreed in May to cut the number of PDSPs from nine to seven. This has been done by merger mostly to refocus the work of the committees which examine and can make recommendations on proposals before they go for decision by the Executive.

In the days after the election the SNP had offered to share power with Labour specifically to "lock the Tories" out of power. Labour however has built a minority-led council with a loose "confidence and supply" agreement with the Tories and others, similar to its previous administration.

The SNP group has branded this a "Unionist coalition".

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