Falkirk Tories To Attempt Local Power Grab

Falkirk Council’s Tory Group has been accused of seeking a power grab from the minority SNP Administration even though they are only the third largest party within Falkirk Council while the SNP are the largest. In May of 2017 the local elections resulted in 12 SNP members returned, 9 Labour, 7 Tory and 2 independent members, the latter pair splitting with Robert Spears supporting the SNP and Billy Buchanan the Tories.

Following the local elections Labour were offered a power sharing pact with the SNP but turned this down intimating they would not accept any political positions within the council. This left the SNP to form a minority Administration as the Nationalists said they would work with all parties but would not enter into a formal coalition with the Conservatives.

This strategy appeared to be paying dividends when the SNP only a few short weeks ago had their budget successfully adopted by Falkirk Council by 21 votes to 8. This was widely felt to be a significant achievement for not only the Administration as a whole but for the architect of the budget, Council Leader Cecil Meiklejohn particular. The budget not only protected key services and community facilities but also delivered much needed new investment in roads, schools and measures to empower communities.

As one insider commented “Mrs Meiklejohn is being targeted by the Tories in a particularly vindictive manner. Their actions are motivated by fear that the SNP Group Leader will continue to build on this achievement and the energy, drive and the fresh thinking she and her SNP administration has brought to Falkirk Council”

As it stands the Tories can not pull this off on their own, they will require the support of the Labour Councillors some of whom will be uncomfortable at being seen to favour a right wing Conservative over a clearly left of centre SNP. The Nationalists believe, that at a time when the Labour Party are seeking to rediscover their traditional roots under the joint leadership of Jeremy Corbyn and Richard Leonard, Labour grass roots activists will recoil in horror at a pact at local level with the traditional enemy, the Conservative Party. This is particularly topical as the full effects of the Tory Westminster agenda such as the move to a Single Benefit regime and the anticipated job losses through BREXIT come into being.

Quote from the Leader of Falkirk Council, Cllr Cecil Meiklejohn.

“The Tories appear to have become possessed with holding power even if they remain Falkirk’s third biggest party, a position they had before the election in May of last year.”

“Failure to win the recent Bonnybridge & Larbert by-election was a major blow to Falkirk’s Tories who now seem to simply ignore the electorate in that ward and beyond.”

“Until they find 8 like minded individuals to vote with them it is business as usual for the SNP Administration.”

“For Labour they must choose between a progressive SNP representing mainstream views or catapulting the Tory Party into the centre of governance within Falkirk district and I wonder how that will be taken by a population that has never voted Tory and never will.”

Quote from Cllr Paul Garner SNP Group Depute Leader,

“The Tory motion is an affront to democracy in that they fail to recognise that by seeking to exclude the leader of the party returned as the most popular party by the electorate they are insulting the people of Falkirk and district.”

“It was the Tories in partnership with the Labour Party who introduced the current decision making structure to their advantage at the time. Now they seek to change it when they find themselves out of power which is in itself a sinister development.”

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SNP Anger At Refusal Of Developer’s Cash To Improve Braes Bus Service

Falkirk Council’s SNP Leader Cllr Cecil Meiklejohn, has described as “a huge blow
for the Braes Community” the decision of the council’s Planning Committee to reject
a recommendation from their own Planning Officers to levy a private developer
£330,000 over three years to improve bus services in the Braes area of Falkirk.

In a shock move Labour Councillor for the Upper Braes Ward, John McLuckie
proposed acceptance of the application lodged by Persimmons Homes for 91 houses
on the Tappernail Farm site by Shieldhill. McLuckie went on to seek the removal of
the condition that required the developer to pay a contribution to the local bus services
from an hourly service to a half hour.

McLuckie was supported by his Labour colleagues, Joan Coombes, Robert Bissett,
Jim Blackwood, Independent Billy Buchanan along with Conservative, Lynn Munro.
The other Tory member of the committee, James Kerr declared an interest in the
application and took no part in the deliberations.

The five SNP members of the committee all voted to reject the application but when
they lost that vote by 6 – 5 they proposed a further amendment to re-instate the bus
clause. Labour and Tory members along with Provost Billy Buchanan, then voted
against this amendment to the detriment of the Braes community.

Cllr Meiklejohn said.

“ I find the decision to go against the advice of the professional officers and pass up a
better bus service for the people of the Braes demands an explanation from those

“Only a few days ago Cllr McLuckie and his Labour colleagues were demanding
more cash from the Scottish Government and here we have Labour and Tory
Councillors, and the Provost of Falkirk effectively giving a developer a £330,000
subsidy for private housing.”

“Its time that the priority for these Councillors became the people they are supposed
to represent.”

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Provost Coleman to be farewelled on Friday

The funeral of Falkirk Provost and Bonnybridge and Larbert Councillor Tom Coleman will take place on Friday 8 December at Falkirk Crematorium.

Provost Coleman who was 72, passed away at Forth Valley Royal Hospital on 30 November following a short illness.

First elected in May 1999, he served as an SNP Councillor continuously for 18 years, representing the constituents of Larbert and Bonnybridge.

He won each election he contested, increasing his majority every term and earned the respect of constituents from across the political spectrum.  Continue reading

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Provost Tom Coleman

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    It is with much sadness that we announce that Provost Tom Coleman, Chairman of Falkirk Council has passed away on Thursday 30 November at Forth Valley Royal hospital after a short illness. He first became an elected member to … Continue reading

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SNP To Invest In Homecare After Years Of Neglect

SNP To Invest In Improved Day Care

The minority SNP Administration within Falkirk Council has moved to ease the fears of carers who currently rely on the Day Care Service. The Nationalists intend to set up a “service users group” to oversee the development of what the SNP believe will be a better service.

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Falkirk Herald Edits Opposition Motion To Make It Fit

Falkirk Council’s former Independent Councillor, Billy Buchanan has been conspicuous by his absence this past ten years but with his return to the opposition benches he is now back amongst the whacky motions.

For the recent meeting of the Falkirk Council Executive, Committee Buchanan moved a two page rant that ended with the following

”Therefore I would ask that we, as a Council, contact our Justice Minister and demand that legislation be brought in to protect our citizens and enable those he represents to have protection from these bullies and that they be allowed to live their life without the scourge of anti social behaviour and that Michael Matheson bring legislation before the Scottish Parliament to put an end to this anti social behaviour. “ Continue reading

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The classification of the Scottish Ambulance Service as a “quango” by Labour Councillor Alan Nimmo, is described as “a gross insult” by SNP Councillor David Alexander.

The claim from Councillor Nimmo came during a debate on public sector funding.

The Labour member claimed that local government was falling behind quangos in terms of funding from Holyrood. When questioned and challenged by Councillor Alexander to name the quangos, Councillor Nimmo pointed the finger at the Scottish Ambulance Service. Continue reading

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SNP Depute Leader of Falkirk Council Paul Garner, has launched a scathing attack on the council’s Labour Group Leader Dennis Goldie, after both members had clashed at the council’s Executive Committee.

For the second meeting in a row the veteran Labour member claimed the SNP Leader Cecil Meiklejohn, faces attempts to oust her from the leadership of Falkirk Council despite the fact the SNP are the largest party following last May’s elections and have 13 members within their Administration. Continue reading

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The recently elected SNP Administration of Falkirk Council are seeking to bring forward a phased package of measures to ease the pressures on vulnerable groups of home owners who are unable to fully fund their share of improvement works.

Despite the fact the council produces a three year rolling programme there are examples of owners being notified that they face crippling bills, often in five figures only weeks before work is due to commence at their homes leaving little time for exploring all options. Continue reading

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Recognition For Falkirk SNP Group Leader

The impact Falkirk North and SNP Leader of Falkirk Council  has made in a very short period of time was recognised by the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities, (COSLA) SNP Group at the first meeting of the new session on 30 June.

At the annual general meeting of the group the Falkirk leader was nominated and appointed  uanimously Depute Leader of the 44 strong SNP delegation to COSLA.

A surprised Councillor Meiklejohn said,

“It is very flattering to receive the support of your peers and I am humbled by the honour.”

The SNP in COSLA are led by East Ayrshire council leader, Dougie Reid who said, Continue reading

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