Councillors vote for Conservative minority group to run Moray Council

Members voted in favour of the Tories to form the local authority’s administration.

Moray Council to be run by minority Conservative group for next five years LDRS
Tories: Moray Council to be run by minority Conservative group.

Moray Council will be run by a minority Conservative group for the next five years. 

Members at a meeting of the full council on Wednesday voted in favour of the Tories to form the local authority’s administration.

Buckie councillor Neil McLennan and his colleague for Forres Kathleen Robertson will now become co-leaders of the council, with councillor for Fochabers Lhanbryde Marc Macrae taking on the role of convener.

The SNP, who were running a minority administration before the local government elections on May 5, put forward proposals for Elgin South councillor Graham Leadbitter to stay as leader and Keith and Cullen member Theresa Coull to take on the role of convener from Fochabers Lhanbryde councillor Shona Morrison.

But their hopes were dashed when members voted by 12 to eight in favour of the Conservatives, with six abstentions.

After nearly two weeks of discussions, no coalition deals were done.

The Tories will have 11 members in the administration, with the rest of the 26-seat council made up of eight SNP councillors, three Labour, two independents, one Green and one Liberal Democrat.

Mr McLennan said: “We set out a very clear statement about collaboration and cooperation.”

He added that would give the people of Moray confidence in the council going forward.

Mr Leadbitter said: “We’re putting forward an alternative as we recognise there we are not the largest group in the council, but I do believe there’s a majority with similarly held political views in providing social justice.”

The meeting finally got under way just after 11am because of technical problems with the live online webcast system.

It was originally to be held in the council chambers with some members joining in remotely via the local authority’s new £70,000 hybrid IT system.

Chief executive Roddy Burns, who was co-chairing the meeting with returning officer Denise Whitworth, thanked the public for their patience and confirmed the meeting had been moved online because of an outbreak of Covid.