First ever SNP administration for East Dunbartonshire Council

The seven SNP councillors have formed a minority administration
The seven SNP councillors have formed a minority administration

An SNP minority administration is to run East Dunbartonshire Council for the first time.

SNP Councillor Gordan Low became council leader at a sombre meeting at council HQ on Tuesday evening, with Councillor Gillian Renwick as his depute.

A minute’s silence was held in memory of the victims of Monday night’s terror attack in Manchester when 22 people died and 59 were injured.

Council Chief Executive Gerry Cornes said: “We pay our respects to those who lost their lives in this terrible tragedy.”

It was the first gathering of the council since the May elections when the SNP won most seats — seven — compared to the Tories (6), Lib Dems (6) Labour (2) and one Independent.

But it looks like being a difficult time ahead for the SNP.

In an echo of the previous council administration, the Tories and Lib Dems voted together to block the appointments of Provost and Depute Provost. As a result, the Conservative’s Alan Brown was selected as Provost.

A discussion on a controversial shared space in East Dunbartonshire was also blocked by them until after the General Election on June 8.

Councillor Low put forward fellow SNP councillor Gillian Renwick as Provost but his proposal was defeated by 12 votes to 7 with councillor Brown taking the chains of office. The two Labour councillors and Independent councillor Duncan Cumming abstained.

This theme continued for the appointment of SNP Councillor Jim Gibbons as Depute Provost, blocked in favour of Lib Dem Gary Pews.

However, SNP Councillor Gillian Renwick was appointed as Depute Leader, despite the Tories putting forward Councillor Billy Hendry for the post. Only the Conservatives and SNP councillors gave a show of hands, with Councillor Renwick winning by seven votes to six.

The Tories and Lib Dems also voted together to prevent a discussion and a motion being put forward by the SNP on the controversial shared space at Kirkintilloch town centre.

Lib Dem Vaughan Moody asked instead for the council to meet again on June 13, five days after the General Election. This was voted through by 13-9 votes. Independent councillor Cumming voted with the Lib Dems and Tories. New council leader Gordan Low told the meeting he “looked forward with interest to the following months”.

He added: “We take the administration of East Dunbartonshire Council very seriously.”

In his debut speech as East Dunbartonshire’s Provost, Councillor Brown said it was “a privilege” to be Provost but told the meeting that sadly his first duty would be to write to the Mayor of Manchester.

He added: “Our thoughts are with those who were killed and injured, and those who have been left traumatised”.