Lib Dems leave council administration

LibDem Councillors Ashay Ghai, Vaughan Moody and Eric Gotts
LibDem Councillors Ashay Ghai, Vaughan Moody and Eric Gotts

The Lib Dem group are out of East Dunbartonshire Council’s ruling administration - leaving the remaining parties with no working majority.

And a row has broken out between the ruling Labour and Conservative councillors and the LibDems about whether they jumped or were pushed.

The LibDems claim they are “resigning” in advance of a meeting later this month, which was called by Labour and Tory councillors, but council leader Rhondda Geekie insists they are being “deselected”.

This follows a major disagreement at a recent council meeting over the rising cost of the planned Huntershill sports complex in Bishopbriggs.

Councillor Ashay Ghai will no longer be deputy leader, convener of neighbourhood services or vice convener of policy & resources. Councillor Eric Gotts will step down as convener of education, and Councillor Vaughan Moody will no longer be vice convener of development & regeneration.

LibDem Group leader Ashay Ghai said: “When we entered the coalition in 2012 all parties agreed that we would not put forward recommendations unless all three groups agreed. However, Labour and Conservatives broke the agreement by forcing through proposals to underwrite a further £4.4 million for the Huntershill sports complex when there were so many unanswered questions.

“We were then expected to simply fall into line which we were not prepared to do.

“It is not easy to give up our roles and move into opposition but it is against our principles to remain in the administration under these circumstances. LibDem councillors can vote independently as a group.”

The administration now has 11 councillors against 13 in opposition.

Council leader Rhondda Geekie said: “We have voted separately in the past on some issues but this time no agreement on a way forward for the three groups could be found.”

And SNP Councillor Anne McNair says the LibDems are ‘delusional’ by claiming they are resigning over a matter of principle.

She said: “Who do they think they are kidding? They were going to be sacked from all their promoted posts.

“In all their time as part of the ruling administration they have shown little concern for matters of principle.

“They have been more interested in positions of power.

“What they cannot walk away from their responsibility for dreadful council decisions such as the dangerous shared space proposals at Catherine Street in Kirkintilloch, cutting the pay of school janitors and rising roughshod over community opposition to school closures.”