Merger: Political storm brewing

A row has broken out this week between Milngavie SNP MSP Gil Paterson and East Dunbartonshire LibDem MP Jo Swinson.

Scottish Government ministers gave East Dunbartonshire Council permission to go ahead with plans to close St Joseph’s Primary in Milngavie and St Andrew’s Primary in Bearsden and build a new merged school at the current St Andrew’s Primary site.

The proposal was originally put forward by the council’s administration - made up of Labour, Conservative and Liberal Democrat councillors.

On hearing the Scottish Government’s decision LibDem MP Jo Swinson, said; “The SNP Govermnent has made the final decsion that the closure of St Joseph’s Primary can go ahead.

“I know this will be devastating news for the many families in the area who love this local school.”

Mr Paterson said: “I was astonished to see Jo’s response.

“It was breathtaking when her LibDem councillors Ashay Ghai and Eric Gotts are bulldozing the closure through.

“She did not persuade her councillors to vote otherwise. If she had urged them to vote against the closure, and not to follow their Labour and Tory colleagues like sheep, St Joseph’s would not be closing.

“She also claims the Scottish Government has made the final decision to close the school.

“It is East Dunbartonshire Council who took the final decision to close the school. The Scottish Government cannot sit in judgement over this, they simply examine whether due process has been followed by the local authority.”

Ms Swinson said: “It’s not controversial to recognise that the families who love St Joseph’s will be devastated by the news that the closure can go ahead.

“Mr Paterson has a cheek suggesting the SNP are champions of education when the SNP Government has presided over a fall in the number of teachers in Scotland by more than 4000. Average class sizes are rising under SNP rule.”