Battle of hustings

Council candidates in ward 6.
Council candidates in ward 6.

AT THE Busby, Clarkston and Eaglesham hustings, one matter jumped to the forefront — East Renfrewshire’s Main Issues Report.

With sitting councillors Alan Lafferty and Alastair Carmichael refusing to attend after the event was moved outside the constituency to Mearns Castle, four remaining candidates answered the public’s questions.

Sitting on the panel were Liberal Democrat Ritchie Adam and independent George Kennedy, alongside Conservative pair Alec White and sitting councillor Stewart Miller.

Vying to ensure their party forms the administration from May 4 onwards, Mr White detailed a method of tactical voting to ensure both he and Mr Miller were elected.

The pair also guaranteed to protect greenbelt from future building, guaranteeing the MIR will be “substantially different” if Conservatives take power.

All four present councillors agreed to increase visibility and transparency of councillors, vowing to hold a bi-annual meeting with members of the ward at Duff Hall if elected.

Roads formed another battleground during the hustings, with councillor Miller promising £20 million to fix the road network — more than ten times the guarantee of absent candidates Mr Carmichael and Mr Lafferty.

However, Lib Dem Mr Adam questioned the viability of this guarantee, asking “what would have to be sacrificed in order to commit £20 million to roads?”

When the discussion turned to schools, both Conservatives and Mr Adam criticised the decision to close Robslee and called for a full review of the local authority’s school estate, and independent Mr Kennedy attributed success in East Renfrewshire’s schools to a “middle class work ethic”.

Speaking yesterday, Mr Lafferty defended his record.

He told The Extra: “I have been an education convenor willing to make tough decision. If schools are running under capacity, it’s not a wise use of resources”.

The Labour candidate also defended his decision not to attend the hustings, which had less than 50 people in attendance, as he “spoke to more people going round the doors in Eaglesham on Tuesday night”.