Former MSP takes over as Labour leader at council


THE Labour Party in Dumfries and Galloway has a new leader - Elaine Murray who was elected as a member of the Nith ward in the council election two weeks ago.

Councillor Ronnie Nicholson hands over the leadership of the Labour group in Dumfries and Galloway to councillor Elaine Murray
Councillor Ronnie Nicholson hands over the leadership of the Labour group in Dumfries and Galloway to councillor Elaine Murray

Dr Murray was formerly MSP for Dumfriesshire before she was beaten in the 2016 Scottish parliamentary election by Conservative Oliver Mundell.

Ronnie Nicholson, the leader of Dumfries and Galloway Council, stepped down as leader of the regional Labour Party nominated Dr Murray to the post, with unanimous backing from the group.

Mr Nicholson has been leader of the group for 10 years and council leader for three.

He said: “It has been an honour and a privilege to be leader of the Labour group and leader of the council over the last few years.

"It has been a difficult journey but one I have relished. With negotiations on-going for control of the council, I decided it was time to take a step back and allow someone new to take on the role.

"I was delighted that my nomination of Elaine was agreed by all members of the group. Elaine has a wealth of experience which she brings to the role and I am in no doubt she will lead this group to bigger and better things.

"I will obviously continue in my role as a councillor and will be working with the people of North West Dumfries and representing their views and concerns.”

Councillor Murray said: “I would like to take this chance to thank Ronnie for his fantastic leadership not only of the Labour group but also of the council.

"He has made some incredible progress, given the difficult financial circumstances Dumfries and Galloway has faced and that is entirely down to his vision and leadership. He has left a legacy which I will strive to follow.

“I am looking forward to leading the Dumfries and Galloway Labour group in the council. We have set out our priorities during the election and I will be looking to implement as many as possible over the next five years.

“After the election and with no party having a majority, it is vitally important that the Labour group stands up for the people of Dumfries and Galloway and that is exactly what I intend to do."

Dr Murray takes over as leader with immediate effect, while Mr Nicholson will maintain his role during the ongoing talks for the administration of the council.

Councillor Archie Dryburgh, Annandale East and Eskdale, is elected to the position of deputy leader of the group.

He said: "I'm honoured to have been elected as deputy leader. Elaine and I will work together over the next five years to put as many of the Labour priorities into action as possible.”

Wednesday, May 17, 2017 at 9:11AM
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