SNP and local councillor continue to clash heads

Councillor Ian Tait.
Councillor Ian Tait.

Two members of the Scottish National Party have this week commented on local councillor Ian Tait’s decision to withdraw two of his motions at a meeting of the full council earlier this month.

The shadow leader of Aberdeenshire Council, Hamish Vernal, and Troup councillor Hamish Partridge both released statements concerning the former SNP, now independent, councillor.

Councillor Tait, at the meeting of the full council, had sought a change to the way in which standing orders are handled, with the local councillor seeking the consideration of the procedures committee. He had withdrawn his motion after a debate, however, in which Councillor Gifford agreed comments made by the local councillor would be considered. He had also withdrawn a motion prior to the meeting starting.

“Standing Orders should be reviewed regularly as a matter of good practice, and that is what is already underway through the Council’s Procedures Committee. This is the correct way to proceed.

“If Standing Orders are to be changed, it must be based on proper and reasoned consideration and not just in response to one individual gripe,” Councillor Vernal said.

Responding to comments made last week by Councillor Tait, who suggested he had achieved his goals at the meeting of the full council, Councillor Partridge said: “It seems Councillor Tait is trying to rewrite history with his take on what happened at the meeting of the full council.

“The fact of the matter is, he withdrew both of his motions, probably because he knew full well that he would struggle to get anyone to second them, let alone vote for them.

“Once again Councillor Tait has gone about things in a manner which is more likely to antagonise people rather than persuade them of his arguments. Meanwhile, my SNP councillor colleagues in Fraserburgh are attempting to put forward the best possible case for funding for upgrading the Council building at Saltoun Square by building consensus, which is how these things should be done.”

Replying to the claims made by the two SNP councillors, Councillor Tait said: “It is sad that once again the SNP is putting politics before the people of Fraserburgh and district, and carping about a procedural matter at council instead of addressing matters of very great importance I have raised with them.

“I would have been better pleased if Councillor Vernal had addressed the questions I put to Councillor Partridge and to which I have not had a reply. I would invite Councillor Vernal to reply to them,” he added.

Councillor Tait has suggested that the SNP was wrong to stop the development corridor, which runs from Aberdeen to Peterhead, and exclude Fraserburgh, and that the SNP Government Minister for Tourism refused to support a request made by him, which was supported by petition, to keep the visitor information centre in the town centre.

He also suggests that Councillor Vernal address Councillor Partridge’s reasons for voting to keep the VIC in the town centre at a meeting in Fraserburgh, but voted to move it at Aberdeen.

Similarly, as he told us last week, Councillor Tait has welcomed an answer on why Councillors Vernal and Partridge did not speak up against the college merger, and out-of-town SNP councillors seemingly going against the wishes of local councillors to move council meetings out of the town centre.

“Instead, we see them carping about a notice of motion at council.

“Councillor Partridge is wrong once again - the council is exactly the place to raise a procedural motion. I achieved exactly what I wanted at the council and that was to stop SNP chairman councillor John Cox from ever again pulling a fast one and springing ambushes on the Banff and Buchan Area Committee as he did recently which may well put town centre jobs at risk.

“I doubt if he would have done this in Banff. At the council, Councillor gifford, the council leader, agreed that the matters I raised should go to the procedures committee,” he added.

Chair of the Banff and Buchan Area Commmittee, Councillor John Cox, had earlier responded to comments made by Councillor Tait about the decision to allow a vote on suspending meeting of the committee at Fraserburgh’s Council Chambers by saying: “This item was taken in the interest and dignity that there is only toilet.

“We’ve got to ensure that there is the right environment for people coming to meetings,” he added, saying that the item was taken as it was an urgent matter based on the events of that meeting, when the Chambers’ capacity had seen people unable to find a place to sit.