Falkirk North SNP Councillor, Cecil Meiklejohn, has been revealed as the party’s new leader within Falkirk Council following the recent announcement that long standing Falkirk North Ward colleague, David Alexander, was standing down after 20 years at the helm.
Mrs Meiklejohn, who lives in Grahamston, was elected to Falkirk Council for the first time in 2007. She was promoted to party spokesperson for Housing and Social Work in 2009 after a series of powerful performances at committee and council meetings that won her the respect of both officials and fellow Councillors.
A champion for disabled rights, Councillor Meiklejohn became the only local government representative on the national board of the Care Inspectorate, the government agency responsible for overseeing Care Services as well as traditional Social Work Services.
At the recent local elections Cllr Meiklejohn was the only Councillor to increase her total number of first preference votes, putting on an additional 200 votes from her 2007 total despite a lower turnout. She was largely responsible for a 9% increase in support for the SNP in the Falkirk North Ward where the SNP to 54% of the fist preference votes in that area.
Now the SNP’s first woman leader has the task of holding Falkirk Council’s Labour / Tory coalition to account, a challenge she clearly relishes, but her first action was to pay tribute to her predecessor, David Alexander,
“I have learned so much this past five years working closely with David both within the Falkirk North Ward we share but also, more significantly, from him as a leader.
His work rate is phenomenal and the respect he commands is well deserved, I know I have a massive pair of shoes to fill but I am determined to give it my best shot.
I am taking up the leadership of the group at an exciting time politically. The SNP are Falkirk district’s party of choice, outpolling Labour on May 3 and we can even build on that.
There is not only real talent within the SNP Group but also vision and energy and my task is to harness these qualities for the benefit of the wider communities that make up Falkirk district.”
First to welcome the appointment was outgoing leader, David Alexander who said,
“Since her election in 2007 I have watched Cecil grow from being a competent political activist with potential into a polished local politician who has gained the respect of friend and foe alike.
When I stood down as leader I did so with the knowledge that there was real quality waiting in the wings and this appointment proves that, otherwise I would not have stood down.
I am sure that the SNP are on the verge of an exciting new era.”
Making up a brand new SNP top team is Braes Councillor Steven Jackson who takes over from veteran Councillor, Tom Coleman as depute leader with Stenhousemuir based, Steven Carleschi taking up the role of SNP Group Secretary.
Said, Cllr Jackson,
“David Alexander and Tom Coleman were an awesome team and it will be a real challenge for Cecil and I to match them.
However, it is reassuring for both of us to know that we have these experienced group members behind us.
I believe we have the team to hold the Labour / Tory Administration to account and that is something I am looking forward to with relish.”
The SNP will review their committee placing in the light of the leadership changes and are expected to announce these at the council meeting to be held on June 20.