Bute SNP councillor says leader should step down

Bute SNP councillor Robert Macintyre says he is unwilling to enter a proposed coalition with Conservative and Liberal Democrat councillors.
Bute SNP councillor Robert Macintyre says he is unwilling to enter a proposed coalition with Conservative and Liberal Democrat councillors.

The chaos engulfing the SNP group at Argyll and Bute Council shows little sign of abating after one of the party’s senior councillors insisted he wanted to have no part of a new coalition with Conservatives and Liberal Democrats.

Bute councillor Robert Macintyre, who was the SNP group leader on the council until last year’s local elections, told The Buteman he believed the resignation of council leader James Robb was the only way to resolve the mounting chaos in the council chamber.

Cllr Macintyre said the party’s national executive had given its 11 Argyll and Bute councillors until 5pm on Monday to decide whether they would support the new coalition deal – struck after the resignation of two SNP group members, Michael Breslin and Fred Hall – and that those who still backed the deal by then would be expelled from the party.

“At Thursday’s SNP group meeting, where Mr Robb tried to sell the deal to us, I told him I wasn’t prepared to be part of it,” Cllr Macintyre told The Buteman.

“On Friday we received word that if we went on with this we would be suspended by the party.

“Then in another email we were told by the close of play on Monday to individually confirm if we were going along with Mr Robb’s view. If we still agreed with him by then we would be expelled from the party.

“Five members of the SNP group have now told Mr Robb they’re not joining his coalition, and if that’s the case he doesn’t have a majority in the council chamber. The other five [the 11th member, Bute councillor Isobel Strong, is currently recovering from major surgery] are in agreement at the moment.

“My solution would be for Mr Robb to step down. I wasn’t totally happy when he became council leader in February, but he was the only candidate. Since then it’s been confrontation after confrontation.”