St Joseph’s campaigners lobby the Liberal Democrat conference

Campaigners fighting to save Milngavie’s only Catholic primary took their campaign to the heart of government on Saturday.

Parents, children and supporters from St Joseph’s lobbied Liberal Democrat MPs and MSPs as they arrived at the SECC for their party conference.

East Dunbartonshire Council, which is run by a coalition of LibDems and Labour, is currently consulting on proposals to close St Joseph’s, which has been in Milngavie for well over a century, and bus the children to Bearsden at an annual cost to the taxpayer of £72,000.

Parents warned that there could be electoral consequences for LibDem MP Jo Swinson - who spoke at the conference and who met campaigners outside - and Milngavie LibDem councillor Eric Gotts if they don’t support the school campaign.

Helen Williams, Vice-Chair of St Joseph’s Parent Council, said: “We decided to lobby the Liberal Democrat conference because we want our MP Jo Swinson and our local councillor Eric Gotts to stand up for our community.

“St Joseph’s is the fastest growing school in the whole of East Dunbartonshire. It is unbelievable that we are being targeted for closure when our roll has increased by 26 per cent in the past three years.

“Our school is also well used by other community organisations, such as the Time Out after-school club, which provides wrap around care for children across Milngavie, and the non-denominational St Joseph’s nursery.

“If East Dunbartonshire Council closes St Joseph’s, all of these vital services will be lost and any party that supports such an unpopular move will suffer badly at the ballot box.”

Ms Swinson said: “I am always happy to engage with constituents on the matters that are important to them. On Saturday I listened to the views of St. Joseph’s supporters, just as I have done for the past few months at surgeries and on my summer tour, and was struck by their passion and dedication for keeping St Joseph’s in Milngavie.

“Now is the time for members of the community to make their voices heard and respond to the consultation before October 11. Full details on how you can complete the questionnaire can be found at www.eastdunbarton.gov.uk/primaryimprovement.”