Caithness Map :: Links to Site Map Paying too much for broadband? Move to PlusNet broadband and save£££s. Free setup now available - terms apply. PlusNet broadband.  

 

Highland SNP Group Councillor Ken Gowans Resigns From Party After 40 Years

5th September 2017

Photograph of Highland SNP Group Councillor Ken Gowans Resigns From Party After 40 Years

The resignation from the Scottish National Party and Highland SNP group of Councillors will come as great shock to many party members but seems to be symptomatic of the malaise since the election in May.

Councillor Gowans who represents the Inverness South ward has issued a statement -

"It is with great regret and a heavy heart that I have arrived at the conclusion that whilst I remain committed to the cause of independence for Scotland, I feel that my personal views and ethos are no longer compatible with those of the leadership of the SNP Highland Group.

It is my belief that I will be better able to represent the constituents of Inverness South working outside of the SNP Highland Group along with my other colleagues on Highland Council.

I have therefore resigned from the SNP Highland Group and regrettably, the party. After over 40 years of membership in the SNP, this is not a decision I have arrived at lightly."

The SNP Leader Maxine Morley-Smith has also issued a statement that may not endear her to many in Ken Gowans ward where he was re-elected. The SNP Leader's words may only go to show the severe divisions that exist in the Highland SNP group when suddenly a man with 40 years SNP party membership resigns.

"Unfortunately,​ ​despite​ ​being​ ​elected​ ​on​ ​the​ ​back​ ​of​ ​SNP​ ​votes​ ​only​ ​4​ ​months​ ​ago,​ ​Mr.​ ​Gowans​ ​has​ ​decided​ ​that​ ​his​ ​career​ ​is​ ​best​ ​served​ ​by​ ​walking​ ​away​ ​from​ ​our​ ​group​ ​and​ ​our​ ​party.

Ken​ ​fought​ ​the​ ​election​ ​for​ ​the​ ​Inverness​ ​South​ ​Ward​ ​along​ ​with​ ​his​ ​wife,​ ​Michelle​ ​Gowans.​ ​The​ ​SNP​ ​funded​ ​and​ ​supported​ ​their​ ​election​ ​campaign.​ ​People​ ​voted​ ​for​ ​Ken​ ​as​ ​he​ ​was​ ​the​ ​SNP​ ​candidate.​ ​Surely​ ​they​ ​could​ ​expect​ ​Ken​ ​to​ ​do​ ​his​ ​duty​ ​for​ ​several​ ​years​ ​at​ ​least,​ ​not​ ​abandon​ ​ship​ ​at​ ​this​ ​early​ ​stage?​ ​​ ​Is​ ​Ken​ ​going​ ​to​ ​pay​ ​this​ ​money​ ​back​ ​to​ ​the​ ​party?​ ​​ ​If​ ​he​ ​had​ ​lost​ ​his​ ​way​ ​with​ ​the​ ​SNP,​ ​why​ ​not​ ​resign​ ​and​ ​allow​ ​the​ ​electorate​ ​to​ ​choose​ ​an​ ​alternative​ ​SNP​ ​Councillor?​ ​​ ​There​ ​are​ ​still​ ​5​ ​years​ ​to​ ​go​ ​of​ ​this​ ​term.

Ken​ ​has​ ​now​ ​shown​ ​that​ ​he​ ​is​ ​definitely​ ​a​ ​politician​ ​driven​ ​purely​ ​by​ ​personal​ ​ambition.​ ​Since​ ​he​ ​was​ ​first​ ​elected​ ​as​ ​an​ ​SNP​ ​candidate​ ​5​ ​years​ ​ago,​ ​he​ ​hasn't​ ​missed​ ​an​ ​opportunity​ ​to​ ​try​ ​and​ ​pursue​ ​his​ ​own​ ​career​ ​goals.​ ​Whether​ ​his​ ​multiple​ ​failed​ ​attempts​ ​to​ ​be​ ​an​ ​parliamentary​ ​candidate​ ​or​ ​his​ ​repeated​ ​attempts​ ​to​ ​be​ ​elected​ ​to​ ​the​ ​SNP​ ​Group​ ​leadership,​ ​Mr.​ ​Gowans's​ ​overriding​ ​concern​ ​has​ ​always​ ​been​ ​his​ ​own​ ​status.

Since​ ​the​ ​May​ ​election,​ ​it​ ​has​ ​become​ ​apparent​ ​that​ ​the​ ​Independents​ ​and​ ​their​ ​allies​ ​in​ ​the​ ​Liberal​ ​Democrat,​ ​Labour,​ ​and​ ​Conservative​ ​Groups​ ​will​ ​not​ ​support​ ​an​ ​SNP​ ​councillor​ ​on​ ​anything​ ​within​ ​the​ ​Highland​ ​Council.​ ​​ ​It​ ​is​ ​a​ ​matter​ ​of​ ​'anything​ ​but​ ​the​ ​SNP'.​ ​We​ ​will​ ​continue​ ​to​ ​stand​ ​up​ ​for​ ​what​ ​we​ ​believe​ ​in​ ​and​ ​for​ ​our​ ​electorate​ ​in​ ​the​ ​face​ ​of​ ​that​ ​spite.​ ​​ ​However,​ ​that​ ​is​ ​obviously​ ​too​ ​difficult​ ​for​ ​Ken​ ​Gowans."

Ken Gowans is not the first SNP Highland councillor to resign from the leadership situation.

Dave Fallows SNP councillor for Badenoch and Strathspey resigned in May 2016 when Maxine Morley-Smith was leader. He cited issues of principle with national policy as his reasons, highlighting issues of apparent centralisation, of women only selection procedures and of lack of genuine reform of Council Tax as his main difficulties.

Another Badenoch and Strathspey councillor Bill Lobban resigned the SNP whip on Highland council in 2016 and subsequently was re-elected as an independent in the May 2017 election.

Jean Slater who represented Inverness Ness-side ward since 2012 was not selected by the SNP as candidate for the 2017 elections so she resigned and stood as an independent but was not successful

The list of resignations from the SNP group in the past few years has grown longer -

David Bremner in Landward Caithness after disagreements with the SNP Highland leadership in 2008.

Alex McLeod in Wick in 2013 over election expenses irregularities.

The SNP like many groups has its internal arguments but there is little doubt it is not helpful for the group as whole hoping to push the administration to back proposals or shade policies they do not like.

The Leader of the Highland Council, Margaret Davidson (Independent), has expressed disappointment at the reaction of SNP councillors following the news of senior SNP councillor, Ken Gowans's, resignation from the party group.

Councillor Davidson said,"The statement issued by Opposition Leader, Councillor Maxine Smith, is extraordinarily personal, and demeaning for someone in her position. It is unnecessarily full of political venom.

I hope this isn't a sign of how the SNP intends to operate on the council. We should concentrate on debating policies, not personalities," says Councillor Davidson.

Councillor Davidson continued by saying she wasn't surprised at Ken Gowans's decision to resign from the party he has been a member of for forty years, "Ken's frustration has been clear for some time. He obviously realises the SNP is an overbearing organisation, determined to push forward with ever more centralisation and that the Highland group has little independence or flexibility. Instead of taking its lead from party headquarters, it’s time they started working for the Highlands."

"I’m pleased Ken has decided to put his constituents first. He is an experienced and effective councillor and I look forward to his continued contribution to the council."

The Highland Council political make-up is now -

Administration: Independent Group, the Liberal Democrat Group and Labour Group

Oppositions Groups: SNP and Conservative and Unionist

Independent (Ind) - 29

Scottish Conservative and Unionist (Con) - 10

Scottish Green Party (Green) - 1

Scottish Labour Party (Lab) - 3

Scottish Liberal Democrats (Lib Dem) - 9

Scottish National Party (SNP) - 21

Vacant - 1 (Ward 7 Tain and Easter Ross)

Total number of Elected Members - 74

 

Related Businesses

 

Related Articles

21/9/2017
Highland Council joins Scotland's battle to wage war on waste
The Highland Council has signed up to join Recycle Week's army of ambassadors in a bid to get Scotland recycling more.   Recycle Week, which takes place from 25 September to 1 October 2017, is the annual UK-wide campaign to raise awareness of the vital importance of recycling.  
20/9/2017
Team behind multi-million pound Inverness Active Travel project celebrate funding competition success
The team behind the Inverness City Active Travel Network project met up with stakeholders and community representatives in Inverness today (Wednesday 20 September) to celebrate being awarded £6.5M of Community Links PLUS funding following the announcement made by the Minister for Transport and the Islands in Glasgow on Monday.   Highland Council and partners have been able to identify matching investment of over £7M, which includes the West Link active travel infrastructure, Inverness Railway Station cycle parking infrastructure, Safer Routes to School interventions, and smarter travel promotion.  
19/9/2017
Deadline Approaching To Register To Sell E-cigarettes
Retailers who sell Nicotine Vapour Products (NVPs) - more commonly known as e-cigarettes and e-liquids - have until 30 September 2017 to update the Register of Tobacco and Nicotine Vapour Product Retailers to show that they sell NVPs.  Retailers who fail to update the Register by this date will be committing an offence.  
19/9/2017
Deadline Approaching To Register To Sell E-cigarettes
Retailers who sell Nicotine Vapour Products (NVPs) - more commonly known as e-cigarettes and e-liquids - have until 30 September 2017 to update the Register of Tobacco and Nicotine Vapour Product Retailers to show that they sell NVPs.  Retailers who fail to update the Register by this date will be committing an offence.  
19/9/2017
Highland Councillors visit Police Control Room Dundee
Chair of Resources Councillor Alister Mackinnon and Scrutiny Lead for Police and Fire Services, Councillor Matthew Reiss visited the Dundee Police Control Room on Monday 18 September 2017, following an invitation from Police Scotland.   Cllr Reiss said: "We welcomed the opportunity to see for ourselves how the new contact, command and control approach is intended to work.  
14/9/2017
Highland Council Leader Says Promises Broken And Commitments Not Met By Scottish Police Authority
Leader of the Highland Council, Margaret Davidson has responded to a presentation at City of Inverness Area Committee by Police Scotland on their plans for the Inverness Control Room and establishing two National Database Enquiry Units (NDEUs).   She said: "Presentations to local committees on revised plans to establish two National Database Enquiry Units cannot be seen as consultation.  
14/9/2017
Sutherland considers local opportunities in City-Region Deal
Members of Sutherland County Committee received an update on the City-Region Deal at their meeting on Wednesday 13 September 2017.   Chair of the Sutherland County Committee Councillor Linda Munro said: "The City-Region Deal is to be welcomed and it is a good thing for the Highlands.  
8/9/2017
Highland Council Gets Tough On Unlicensed Houses In Multiple Occupation
Joint Operation to identify unlicensed HMOs.   Following concerns that several flats within Cruickshank Court, Dingwall, were being occupied as unlicensed Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO), the Highland Council's Environmental Health team led a joint investigation at the property on the evening of 7 September 2017.  
7/9/2017
Council to raise Police Control Room decision making with First Minister
The Highland Council has agreed to write to the First Minister regarding Police Scotland's plans for the Inverness Control Room.   The motion which was signed by The Leader of the Highland Council, Margaret Davidson and the Vice Chair of Corporate Resources Cllr Andrew Baxter states: ‘Highland Council is appalled at the circumstances surrounding the future proposed closure of the Inverness Control Room, a facility that has stood the test of time and countless emergencies with distinction.  
7/9/2017
Highland Health and Social Care integration performs well
The integrated health and social care partnership between NHS Highland and The Highland Council performed significantly better or matched national averages in Scotland in eight out of 12 benchmark performance areas, according to a report.   The first-ever annual performance report on the North Highland Health and Social Care Partnership (NHHSCP) was stipulated by the Scottish Government this year in order to help gauge and compare the progress of integration of all the health board and council services across Scotland.  

[Printer Friendly Version]