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Minority Conservative administration to lead Moray Council for the next five years

A minority Conservative administration has been voted in to lead Moray Council.
A minority Conservative administration has been voted in to lead Moray Council.

A minority Conservative group will aim to lead Moray Council through the next five years.

Members at a meeting of the full council today 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.

Councillor Marc Macrae is the new Moray Council convener.

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

The Tories will have 11 members in the administration.

Eight SNP councillors, three Labour, two independents, one Green and one Liberal Democrat make up the the rest of the 26 seat council.

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

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 that we are not the largest group in the council, but I do believe they’re a majority with similarly held political views in providing social justice.”

Conservative councillors Kathleen Robertson and Neil McLennan are the new co-leaders of Moray Council.

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.

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