Perth and Kinross Council’s SNP contingent have expressed their dissent at a committee shake up which they claim will see, at least temporarily, a political imbalance in representation.
A motion brought to full council on Wednesday has, according to the party, left the council with a political imbalance and SNP members present today asked for their dissent to be recorded.
Following the recent council by-elections in Perth City North and South, which saw one more SNP and Liberal Democrat councillor elected, the allocation of seats on committees was raised for a rebalancing.
It was agreed by all sides that the allocations should be closely examined at the council’s governance member officer working group (MOWG), before a recommendation for a permanent solution is decided on, however how it should be dealt with in the interim saw division across the chamber.
Two separate alternatives to the administration’s plans were lodged, by both the SNP and the Independent/Labour group.
The latter’s plans were rejected and at the second round, the SNP’s plans met the same fate.
The SNP claim the proposals eventually approved give the Conservatives more representation per councillor on committees than their share of elected members would deem balanced at the expense of themselves and the Independent/Labour Group.
Deputy Group Leader Cllr Andrew Parrott has said: “The SNP Group are left dismayed by the shoddy deal done by the Conservative administration and their allies to maximise their representation on committees in the Council.
“On Wednesday, council rejected a way of fairly allocating committee positions in favour of one that gives more weight to the administration than is due.
“This move is not in keeping with what we understand to be the regulations that govern the proper allocation of committee places and we will not be letting this matter rest.”
Council leader Murray Lyle explained that the ratio would be brought back to the council “as soon as possible” for scrutiny after the MOWG had made a recommendation.
The Conservative’s proposals will form the political make up of each committee on an interim basis and he says it allow newly elected members the chance to jump straight in.
He said: “I think it would be unfair if we left the committees the way they are now with vacancies when we have two newly elected councillors who I’m sure would be champing at the bit to get on with committee work.
“We have to, in my view, accommodate newly elected members and then we would proceed.
“I assume this would encompass one round of committees.”
The allocations will now be analysed by the MOWG and a recommendation on whether to alter the ratios or not is expected to be decided in the near future.