Renfrewshire Conservatives have accused the local Labour council group of being in “disarray” after two longstanding councillors quit the party in recent months.

Renfrewshire Conservative group leader Councillor Neill Graham and local Scottish Conservative MSP Russell Findlay say that Labour in Renfrewshire are “completely distracted” by party infighting and are “completely distracted”.

Renfrewshire Labour leader Iain McMillan hit back at their comments dismissing them as “a load of nonsense” and that “Labour Group are doing a good job.”

Paisley Southeast Labour Councillor Eddie Devine quit the party after more than four decades as a member, while Johnstone South and Elderslie councillor John Hood followed a month later, ending more than 30 years of membership for the two veteran councillors.

Councillor Neill Graham says by contrast the group of Conservative councillors are “wholly united”.

Renfrewshire Conservative group leader Councillor Neill Graham said: “The Labour group in Renfrewshire are beset by infighting and are in total disarray.

“They have lost two senior councillors who had both been with the party for decades who did not hold back with their parting shots when deciding to leave the party.

“It confirms that the local Labour party are completely distracted with their own internal squabbles with each other rather than holding the SNP-led administration in Renfrewshire to account for their failings.

“By contrast the group of Conservative councillors that I am proud to lead in Renfrewshire are wholly united and will continue to highlight the SNP administration’s failures.

“We are the real alternative to the SNP for the people of Renfrewshire.”

Photo: Scottish Conservatives Councillor Neill Graham and MSP Russell Findlay photographed in Gallowhill last week
Photo Credit: Renfrewshire Conservatives

Scottish Conservative West Scotland MSP Russell Findlay said: “The exit of these two councillors and their refusal to go quietly confirms that the local Labour party is consumed by petty internal squabbling and too weak to stand up to the incompetent SNP administration in Renfrewshire Council.

“Their self-indulgence is consistent with Anas Sarwar’s Scottish Labour nationally whose MSPs regularly back the SNP on a wide range of issues, from gender self-ID to hate crime laws.

“Whether at Holyrood or in Renfrewshire, the Scottish Conservative will continue to be a strong voice, especially those who have been abandoned by the Labour party.”

Renfrewshire Labour leader Iain McMillan hit back, he said: “What a load of nonsense.

“Anyone who has been watching the goings on in Renfrewshire council will know Labour are at the forefront of holding the SNP/Independent run council to account.

“Whether it’s over the shambles at Dargavel Primary school or challenging their record on climate issues Labour are working hard every day to ensure Renfrewshire Council deliver for the people of Renfrewshire.

“I don’t t think I have ever worked with a more united group.

“Eddie Devine was never a member of the Labour Group and John Hood actually praised the local party and my leadership before he left the group.

“Would I have preferred that they were still members of the party and were part of the group?

“Yes of course but they made their decision and I believe the 13 of us in the Labour Group are doing a good job and will continue to do so for the next 4 years and then we certainly hope to win back the council for Labour in 2027.”

Neil Graham is a councillor for Paisley Northeast and Ralston Iain McMillan for Johnstone South and Elderslie.

Headline image: Renfrewshire Conservative leader Neill Graham and Renfrewshire Labour leader Iain McMillan

By Ricky Kelly

Main writer for Renfrewshire News

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