Renfrewshire Conservative Group leader Councillor Neill Graham has slammed the SNP administration for wasting council time by pushing forward a motion in relation to another independence referendum.

Councillor Graham has hit out after SNP Councillors Robert Innes and Michelle Campbell brought forward a motion to June’s full council meeting welcoming an independence referendum next year.

The motion submitted by the pair asked that the council recognises that the results of the 2022 local government election delivered a majority of pro Scottish independence councillors (21 SNP and independent Andy Doig) and that council welcomes a referendum on Scotland’s independence.

The Conservative councillor aimed to amend the motion by highlighting that constitutional affairs are not matters for local councils and that all councillors regardless of party to work together in the common interest of our constituents on matters of relevance to local government.

Cllrs Graham motion was defeated after Labour Councillor Colin McCulloch and Liberal Democrat Anne Hannigan abstained.

Neill Graham said the move shows that only his group of Renfrewshire Conservative councillors can be trusted to stand up for pro-UK voters in the area and “fight the SNP’s independence obsession”.

He says it was “disgraceful” that council time was taken up discussing the issue of Indyref2.

Neill Graham, cllr for Paisley Northeast and Ralston, said: “This motion was a complete waste of councillors time.

“We should be debating the real issues facing Renfrewshire residents, not the SNP’s independence obsession. These councillors want to speak about another divisive referendum to hide from their appalling record in standing up for the people of Renfrewshire.

“What was almost as disgraceful was the fact that Labour’s Councillor McCulloch and the sole Liberal Democrat Councillor abstained on my motion standing up to the SNP’s latest indyref2 push.

“That is a shocking betrayal of pro-UK voters in Renfrewshire. It has been made very clear to them that only the Renfrewshire Conservative group I lead will always stand up for them and our United Kingdom and Labour and the Liberal Democrats are too soft when it comes to the Union.

“All the other issues are taking a back burner for Nicola Sturgeon’s drive for independence and our constituents deserve better than this being dragged up at a local authority level.”

However, SNP Councillor for Houston, Crosslee and Linwood, Robert Innes hit back, he said: “Scottish independence is not about the SNP, Labour or the Tories. It’s about the people of Scotland having the chance to choose their own future.

“Renfrewshire voted for pro independence politicians to represent them in May, my motion asked council to recognise that. Instead of denying democracy perhaps Cllr Graham should take a look at the constant sleaze, corruption and lawbreaking coming from within his own party and perhaps pipe down a bit.

“Only with independence will Scotland be able to build towards being a happier, wealthier and more equal country and that begins at local government level. If Cllr Graham and his Tory chums are too short sighted to see that independence unlocks so many benefits for Renfrewshire then that’s up to them, they can vote no in a referendum. What I won’t do is go about denying people their democratic right to choose their own future. “

Headline photo: Cllr Neill Graham and Cllr Robert Innes
Photo Credit: David Cameron / Renfrewshire News

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