Change in leadership at Shire council

Martin Kitts-Heys, joint leader of Aberdeenshire Council.
Martin Kitts-Heys, joint leader of Aberdeenshire Council.

A series of political changes took place at Aberdeenshire Council on Monday following a special meeting of the full council.

The council is now led by an administration, ‘The Partnership’, comprising the 28-member SNP group and the four-strong ‘Progressive Alliance’ between Scottish Labour and Progressive Independent Councillors.

At the meeting, Cllr Hamish Vernal was elected as Provost, with Cllr Allison Grant as Deputy Provost.Cllr Martin Kitts-Hayes and Cllr Richard Thomson were appointed as co-leaders of the council.

In an arrangement thought to be the first of its kind in Scottish local government, Cllr Kitts-Hayes and Cllr Thomson agreed to job-share the positions of leader and depute leader.

Speaking afterwards, Cllr Kitts-Hayes said: “This partnership arrangement, which is the first of its kind in Scotland, marks a historic day for Aberdeenshire Council.

“The new Partnership Administration is committed to working together for the benefit of the residents and communities of Aberdeenshire. We’re looking forward to getting on with the job.”

Cllr Thomson said: “We’re confident we’ll be able to work together effectively and that collectively, we’ll rise to the challenge.”

Leader of the Scottish Labour Group, Alison Evison, said: “Ours is a progressive agenda, based on principles of equality, fairness, openness and accountability, which can deliver for all residents and communities across the whole of Aberdeenshire. This is a very positive agreement which has seen our respective groupings putaside our differences nationally in order to concentrate on what we all agree needs done locally.”