A motion tabled by Administration councillors at today’s East Lothian Council meeting has revealed the true colours of local SNP councillors on their party’s decision to close Haddington’s courts.
Cllr John McMillan joined administration colleague Cllr Michael Veitch in tabling the motion condemning the court closures decision, stating that the whole Scottish Parliament should have been allowed to debate and vote on the issue, and mandating the council to write to Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill and urge him to reconsider the closure.
But despite having previously publicly stated their opposition to their party’s closure plans, all eight SNP councillors fell into line with their party leadership and voted against the motion. The motion was passed anyway with all Administration members backing it.
Speaking after the council meeting, Labour Leader of the council, Cllr Willie Innes said:
“I am immensely proud of the part the council played in the fight against the closure of Haddington’s courts. While we won all the arguments, the SNP had the votes to railroad their ill-considered plans through Parliament’s Justice Committee and wipe out hundreds of years of local justice in East Lothian.
“Now the SNP here in East Lothian have exposed their support for their party’s dismantling of local justice in the county. By voting against the motion at today’s council meeting, local SNP councillors have shown their true colours and their lack of concern about the retention of local justice.
“Their previous tokenistic opposition has been thrown overboard and replaced with slavish support for Kenny MacAskill and their party leaders in Edinburgh. It is now absolutely clear that the SNP should be held solely responsible for bringing about the end of locally-delivered justice in East Lothian.”
County MSP Iain Gray, who led the campaign against the court closures, added:
“I am very grateful to Labour-led East Lothian Council for the important contribution it made to the campaign against the closure of Haddington’s courts. Sadly, it seems that SNP councillors’ previous opposition to their party’s plans was little more than a cynical attempt to trick voters into thinking they supported local justice.
“I had genuinely hoped that they could put party politics aside and support what is right for the people of East Lothian. However, by voting against this motion they have demonstrated that they have as little regard for local justice in East Lothian as their South of Scotland list MSP colleagues and party leaders in Edinburgh.”