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Highland Council opposition leader on a year of cuts and SNP bashing

Councillor Maxine Smith, chairwoman of Highland Council's tourism committee.
Councillor Maxine Smith, chairwoman of Highland Council's tourism committee.

The leader of the main opposition group in the Highland Council has had to face her own challenges in the 12 months since the election.

SNP group head Maxine Smith has seen members depart to become independents over policy differences.

The political year initially started badly for the SNP group when they claim they were “shut out” of negotiations to form the administration.

The two memebrs left.

She said: “It has made no difference at all as both members [who left] believe in the ethos of the Scottish National Party and its goals and continue to vote with us at every turn.

“Being two down made a very slight difference to committee places, but that is neither here nor there.  In due course, both members who left the Group, will no doubt return at the appropriate time.”

But like Ms Davidson, Ms Smith’s political agenda has been dominated by the budget particularly as much of the blame for the cuts was laid at the SNP government’s door.

Ms Smith said: “After one year there have been many unpalatable cuts by the Administration. The SNP would not have inflicted so many wounds on our communities, who have suffered the most.”

Though temperatures sometimes rise along party political lines, Ms Smith believes it hampers policy making unnecessarily.

She said: “A positive environment helps in producing a stronger economy for the Highlands. We work cross party in several boards in the council in a civil manner and we are producing good results.

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