SNP councillor quits party following planned deal with Greens

AN SNP councillor has quit the party following the announcement of a planned cooperation agreement with the Greens in Holyrood.

Geva Blackett, who represents Aboyne, Upper Deeside and Donside in Aberdeenshire, said the deal would prove “damaging” for rural areas.

She also cited local issues including “uncertainty surrounding the future of Aboyne Hospital” and the “apparent disarray” of the ambulance service.

Ms Blacket was elected in 2012 but previously said she had decided party politics was not for her and would not stand again.

Writing on Facebook today, she said: “In my view, Government policy is being made with little or no understanding of the challenges remote rural communities face.

“I can no longer support this and at the same time say to you, my constituents, that I am doing my best to get – for example – the health services we really need and indeed if we lived in an urban conurbation would get.”

She added: “Many rural jobs are under threat and involvement from the Green Party (who have less than 5 per cent of the Scottish vote yet now have the power to dictate the future of Scotland) will no doubt see an agenda damaging to many of you pushed through to the statute book with no thought about the wider impact.

“On occasions I need to speak out against what is happening and that is impossible to do as an elected member of a party in government.

“If the SNP were in opposition and another political administration holding the reins of power in Holyrood, it would be different; I could be as critical as needed. But they are not and therefore I cannot.

“Thus, my decision to serve you as an independent voice without political constraint.”

The Scottish Greens secured 8.1% of the regional vote at the recent Holyrood election.

Ms Blacket said she would not be resigning as a councillor “for the simple reason that by-elections are expensive, costing the already stretched public purse many thousands that with the council elections mere months away cannot be justified”.

She continued: “I have only ever wanted what’s best for the people who live and work in the Aboyne, Upper Deeside and Donside Ward, regardless of their political persuasion, and I will continue, for the time being, to work in their best interests.

“I hold my fellow Aberdeenshire Council SNP colleagues in the highest regards and that no slight is intended against them by my resignation from the party, my concerns lie at government policy level and most definitely not with them.”

The SNP and the Greens announced the details of a planned cooperation agreement last week, which could see two MSPs from the junior party entering government.

The Herald Scotland

The Herald Scotland

The Herald is a Scottish broadsheet newspaper founded in 1783. The Herald is the longest running national newspaper in the world and is the eighth oldest daily paper in the world. The title was simplified from The Glasgow Herald in 1992