Council administration backs under-pressure leader over walkouts

David Fairweather said he will now stay on following the departure of councillors Lois Speed and Ben Lawrie.

Council administration backs under-pressure leader over walkouts LDRS

Beleaguered Angus councillor David Fairweather will stay on as administration leader after being given “unanimous” support by those still in power.

Earlier this week independent councillor Lois Speed and Liberal Democrat Ben Lawrie quit the Angus Council administration citing an “unhealthy culture” in the corridors of power.

After councillor Lawrie walked on Tuesday afternoon, councillor Fairweather said he would put his job on the line with a vote of confidence among his remaining administration members. They have since given him their full support.

Cllr Fairweather told The Courier: “It was unanimous. They want me to stay. So I will be staying on.”

The independent councillor said that “constructive conversations” had been held with councillors Speed and Lawrie, adding: “I am very hopeful that we can work together going forward. I think they were both delighted that this is going to be the case.”

He could not be reached for further comment. However, he has previously denied that the administration – made up of independent and Conservative members – has a toxic culture.

Cllr Lawrie, who quit on Tuesday claiming colleagues were being “shouted down” and “isolated” within the administration, spoke to councillor Fairweather on the phone earlier on Wednesday.

While he will not rejoin the administration, the Liberal Democrat says that the relationship between himself and the leader has stabilised.

“I am always open to working with people where we agree and when the administration puts forward sensible proposals I will support them,” he said.

“I will be a constructive voice in the council – but it will be a different council.”

He added that he still believes in his reasons for quitting – he walked on Tuesday, in solidarity with councillor Speed who left a day earlier.

“What prompted me to quit was councillor Speed’s resignation – if it was a culture she couldn’t participate in I didn’t want to be part of the problem.

“This wasn’t an electioneering thing. With Lois gone it would have been wrong for me to have said nothing.”

Cllr Speed quit “with regret” on Monday. Both she and councillor Lawrie will continue representing their wards. She could not be reached for further comment.

By local democracy reporter Jon Brady

STV News is now on WhatsApp

Get all the latest news from around the country

Follow STV News
Follow STV News on WhatsApp

Scan the QR code on your mobile device for all the latest news from around the country

WhatsApp channel QR Code