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Caithness SNP Councillor Raymond Bremner elected as the leader of Highland Council as Independent group leader Bill Lobban returns as convener

By Scott Maclennan

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Council leader Raymond Bremner. Credit Alan Hendry.
Council leader Raymond Bremner. Credit Alan Hendry.

Councillor Raymond Bremner has been elected as the first ever leader of Highland Council from Caithness.

That was despite a late challenge from the Liberal Democrats, which saw Alasdair Christie defeated 40 votes to 27 with four abstentions.

He is joined at the top table by Independent coalition colleague Bill Lobban who was returned unopposed as convener.

In his opening address, Councillor Raymond set out a pro-business platform and a determination to avoid a "second Highland Clearances" through depopulation.

He added that "While I have been elected council leader today I am a Caithness Councillor first, remember that.

"Though I have wider responsibility as leader now Caithness is first equal in my attention."

Councillor Christie was later elected leader of the opposition.

He said: "We will hold you to account to ensure you put the Highlands ahead of any Central Belt-type politics, and you wouldn't expect anything else."

Convenor Bill Lobban showing his support for Ukraine last term.
Convenor Bill Lobban showing his support for Ukraine last term.

While Councillor Lobban as convener said: "The winds of change are indeed blowing through this chamber, let us hope that they are a breath of fresh air."

He underlined the responsibility of all the councillors in the chamber are to help the Highlands to prosper.

He added that recent years have been some of the most difficult times for the Highlands "since the Second World war."

The next council meeting will take place on June 9 when discussions will take place about how the local authority will structure its committees and further appointments of office bearers will also be made.

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