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‘Let’s end the petty politics that have blighted Angus’: New Provost’s plea as council meets for first time

Carnoustie Independent Brian Boyd was elected Provost of Angus. Pic: Kim Cessford/DCT Media.
Carnoustie Independent Brian Boyd was elected Provost of Angus. Pic: Kim Cessford/DCT Media.

Angus has ushered in a history-making era with the first meeting of the new council.

It met in Forfar on Tuesday afternoon for the first time since the Scottish local elections earlier this month returned the SNP to power in the county.

And the county’s new Provost – Carnoustie Independent Brian Boyd – has called for an end to the “petty politics that have blighted Angus Council in its entirety”.

He is taking a £10,000 pay cut and ditching the council car and chauffeur.

The SNP party took 13 of the council’s 28 seats on May 6.

And while that was short of an overall majority, the addition of Carnoustie Independents Mr Boyd and David Cheape returned the district to SNP control after five years of a Conservative/Independent coalition.

First female council leader

Monifieth and Sidlaw councillor Beth Whiteside becomes the first female leader in the authority’s history.

Beth Whiteside
SNP group leader Beth Whiteside is the first female leader of Angus Council. Pic: Kim Cessford/DCT Media.

As we predicted, the deal to join the SNP administration saw Mr Boyd nominated as Angus Provost.

He secured the civic figurehead role in an 18-10 defeat of opposition Conservative nominee, former Provost Ronnie Proctor.

Mr Boyd is the first Independent Provost of Angus, and the first openly gay councillor to hold the post.

He said it was a “huge honour”.

The appointment took place in the first face-to-face meeting of the council since the pandemic struck.

And it was held for the first time at the authority’s Angus House HQ at Orchardbank.

Councillors previously agreed the historic Town and County Hall in Forfar town centre was too cramped for a post-Covid full council meeting.

Cllr Whiteside said: “I am particularly honoured to be the first woman ever elected to lead Angus Council.

“The administration I lead will bring to bear the weight of talent and experience elected by the people of Angus, and we will deliver our ambitious agenda for everyone who lives here.

“Our new administration represents people in every part of Angus, with councillors from every decade from twenties to seventies, and with a much greater gender balance.

“We will now turn our focus to implementing the progressive vision we put before the people of Angus, which was emphatically endorsed in the election.”

Angus Council
The first meeting of the new Angus Council took place at Angus House. Pic: Kim Cessford/DCT Media.

‘Proud moment’ for new Provost

Previously outspoken figure Mr Boyd called for an end to the “petty politics that have blighted Angus Council in its entirety”.

Last July, he branded Angus the “laughing stock of Scottish democracy.”

It followed scandals which rocked the authority during the latter stages of the previous administration.

And those continue to haunt the council after Twitter troll Conservative councillor Derek Wann emerged as the leader of the main opposition group.

However, Mr Boyd is also no stranger to controversy.

In 2019, he was censured by the Standards Commission after signing a Carnoustie petition which referred to a local minister as a “homophobic reverend”.

But he has called for a new era of “positive and mature” local democracy.

“It is a very proud moment for me,” said the 57-year-old businessman.

“Never did I imagine when I was a beach leader in Carnoustie, Arbroath and Montrose 39 years ago I would land up becoming Provost of Angus.

“I want to ensure all 27 of you will equally have my support.

“We are elected to look after the people we represent, not use that as a political punchbag for our own personal gains.

“We have the most challenging time ahead of us in the next five years.

“So let’s focus on making Angus better by working together.”

Provost’s car ditched

His first move is to axe the Provost’s car and chauffeur. And he said he would be taking a £10,000 cut from the pay and expenses of his predecessor.

“Quite frankly it has been a terrible waste of taxpayers’ money by a Conservative Provost in the past five years.”

And he will end the age-old tradition of chairing full Angus Council meetings wearing the historic Provost’s chain.

Linda Clark
Newly-elected Forfar councillor Linda Clark has been appointed Deputy Provost of Angus. Pic: Kim Cessford/DCT Media.

“Wearing them will be kept to a minimum, but this is the last time you will see them on me in the chamber.”

“Let’s ensure Angus moves forward positively, maturely and with sound values,” said Mr Boyd.

Newly-elected Forfar SNP councillor Linda Clark was elected Deputy Provost.

Committee posts

Administration councillors fill the convener and vice-convener posts on all of the authority’s main committees, apart from scrutiny and audit.

Policy and Resources: Convener Beth Whiteside, vice-convener Kenny Braes.

Children and Learning: Convener Lynne Devine, vice-convener Martin Shepherd.

Communities: Convener Mark McDonald, vice-convener Kenny Braes.

Development Standards: Convener David Cheape, vice convener Chris Beattie.

Civic Licensing: Convener Brenda Durno, vice convener Linda Clark.

Scrutiny and audit: Convener Craig Fotheringham, vice convener Gavin Nicol.

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