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Formal decision on Highland Council administration expected tomorrow at the first full meeting since the election which is likely to see the SNP and Independent coalition take political control

By Scott Maclennan

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Highland Council headquarters in Inverness.
Highland Council headquarters in Inverness.

In Brief:

  • Tomorrow sees the first full Highland Council meeting since the local authority election
  • Political administration set to be ratified after all councillors are confirmed in position
  • Council leader, convener and opposition leader also set to be determined

The horse-trading that dominated the post-election period at Highland Council is set to end and the politics are certain to begin – tomorrow at a full meeting of the local authority councillors are poised to ratify the political leadership.

A coalition deal has been made between the two largest groups – the SNP with 22 seats led by Cllr Raymond Bremner and the Independent group led by Cllr Bill Lobban with 18 – providing a majority of three.

Top of the agenda will be the election of the convener, followed by the council leader, then the leader of the opposition which will establish the political administration and opposition – effectively the drawing of political battle lines.

For the latest on developments at Highland Council click here

Cllr Bremner has been tipped to become the first SNP leader since 2015 while Cllr Lobban could potentially return to his former position of convener or become deputy leader.

The Liberal Democrats are the third biggest group so it is likely that their leader Alasdair Christie will become leader of the opposition – last term he was deputy council leader.

Strong council administration?

Both Cllrs Bremner and Lobban think it is built to last but rumours have swirled since the election about defections from Independents deeply unhappy at the deal with the nationalists, personality clashes also played a part.

But so far just one councillor, Matthew Reiss representing Thurso and East Caithness, has left the Independent group citing the SNP’s stance on nuclear power and roads.

Though likely considered a blow, it is unlikely to rock the two groups which will almost certainly form the administration at a full meeting of the council – what happens after that depends on addressing local concerns.

Certainly those that are at all in doubt could jump ship if they feel that their constituents' concerns are being ignored – something that brought the previous administration no end of problems last term.

For more political news click here

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