MSP hits out at coalition

Jackson Carlaw MSP.
Jackson Carlaw MSP.

A WAR of words has erupted after an MSP heavily criticised the new administration on East Renfrewshire council.

West of Scotland MSP Jackson Carlaw accused the new administration of “back-slapping familiarity” and threatening East Ren’s green-belt.

The deputy leader of the Scottish Conservatives said: “So, back-slapping familiarity has triumphed and, despite an overwhelming vote in East Renfrewshire against a party which supports separation from the UK, we now have a coalition of political opportunism.

“Council tax payers can expect yet another administration which will continue to demonstrate an arrogant contempt for those who dare to differ from its views.

“Alarmingly, this all too chummy mix of Labour and SNP gives the green light to unprincipled, unwanted and voracious speculative development of East Renfrewshire’s green-belt”.

Mr Carlaw went on to say that those who opposed the Main Issues Report had been left without a voice over the “plundering” of East Ren’s green space.

He added that he felt residents in Newton Mearns would be left without a medical centre of its own.

He continued: “Labour and SNP stand guilty of gross dishonesty to the electorate.

“They happily signed motions in support before the election only once elected to abandon their previous pledges for a medical centre in Newton Mearns in favour of what is essentially a relocation of existing facilities in Clarkston/Williamwood.

“A centre which frankly will match neither the need nor the future demand of the community”.

Leader of East Ren’s new administration Jim Fletcher said the Tory’s green-belt claims were “at best disingenuous”.

Mr Fletcher told The Extra: “It is disappointing to see that Jackson Carlaw is still banging on about misleading campaigning issues that brought another humiliating defeat for East Renfrewshire Conservatives.

“The truth is that when the constitutional issue is laid aside, there is little difference between the Labour and SNP local manifestos.

“We have a track record of delivering for local communities and we will deliver the new health centre for the whole of Eastwood, which local people clearly voted for in the recent election.

“The Tory campaigning on the green-belt is at best disingenuous and we will produce a local plan which both reflects the wishes of local people and protects our valued green-belt”.

SNP councillor Vincent Waters defended his party’s campaign and claimed the electorate had not been persuaded by what he called the Conservative’s “scaremongering and misinformation”.

He told The Extra: “The SNP ran a positive campaign on a platform of policies to make our communities better.

“We had open and honest discussion with all parties on the council about forming an administration because we believed that was right and what local people would expect.

“We took the decision to enter coalition with Labour because it offered the best opportunity to deliver our manifesto promises to voters”.

Mr Waters concluded by saying his party will work to deliver on its promises “with any party that puts people before point scoring”.