Local government minister Derek Mackay has said he hopes that a change in the leadership of Aberdeen City Council will herald a “fresh start”.
The SNP minister said he was determined to try and build a good working relationship with Labour councillor Jenny Laing who replaced Barney Crockett at the helm on Monday night.
Mr Mackay recently buried the hatchet with Mr Crockett at the SNP conference in Aberdeen after months of tension and public fall-outs.
But the minister said he wondered if the councillor’s “gutsy” decision to attend a civic reception contributed to his downfall.
“I do not know what Barney Crockett’s worse actions were, falling out with some elements in the Labour group or to turn up at the SNP conference and maybe that was the act beyond reproach for some,” he added.
Mr MacKay said he thought the relationship between the council and government was improving and Mr Crockett’s departure “surprised some folk”.
Reflecting on Ms Laing’s appointment, the minister said: “It is an opportunity for a fresh start and I will be making contact today to try and rebuild stronger relations between the city council and government, irrespective of clear divisions within the Labour Party, because that is what the public would expect.”
The minister said the public expected the city council and government to try and rebuild consensus and “get on with the job”.
“The expectation is on the council to get its house into order,” he added.
“Largely people were blaming the council for the predicament that they found themselves with ridiculous announcements about potential bans on ministers and so on.”