Fraserburgh councillor Brian Topping leads local Alba Party group
Fraserburgh councillor Brian Topping has become leader of the Alba Party group in Aberdeenshire.
The group, consisting of three former SNP councillors, was established in March and aims to add to its tally at the local government election next year.
Councillor Topping, a representative of Fraserburgh for almost 40 years, spoke of his delight after being chosen to lead the group.
“It is a great honour to become leader of the Alba Group in Aberdeenshire, ” he said. “I’ve represented this area for so many years and it is nice to now have a new role and some greater influence in the council.
"I work closely with my friend and colleague Leigh Wilson and we have a number of ideas that we are keen to progress over the next few months, but we are also keen to work with other parties and groups to find consensus on areas we agree on.”
Cllr Topping quit the SNP a few weeks before the Scottish Parliament elections earlier this year in order to stand for Alba as a list candidate for the North East of Scotland.
His election campaign was brought to an abrupt halt when he was taken to hospital for life-saving treatment after being diagnosed with a heart problem.
Happily, while he failed to be elected to Holyrood, he has recovered to resume his role representing the people of Fraserburgh on Aberdeenshire Council.
Cllr Topping was joined by Aberdeenshire colleagues Councillor Leigh Wilson, a representative for the Mearns and Alba’s national Local Government Convenor, and North Kincardine councillor Alastair Bews in signing up for Alba on the day it was launched.
All three councillors, close allies of party leader Alex Salmond, believe their party to achieve success at the polls in May, with the North-east a key target.
Acting as interim leader since the group’s inception, Cllr Wilson now becomes depute leader, and welcomed the new arrangements.
He said: “Brian has a wealth of experience that will be vital for the group to draw upon and I’m delighted that we now have a formal leadership team in place ready to take us into the election next year. I’m confident that we can become the natural home for independence supporters in the North-east.”