An SNP councillor has resigned from the party claiming “government policy is being made with little or no understanding of the challenges remote rural communities face”.
Geva Blackett, who represents Aboyne, Upper Deeside and Donside, said “many rural jobs are under threat” as a result of the co-operation agreement struck between the SNP and Greens on Friday.
Announcing her resignation online, she said “involvement from the Green Party will no doubt see an agenda damaging to many of you pushed through to the statute book with no thought about the wider impact”.
The councillor highlighted the “uncertain future” of Aboyne Hospital and the “apparent disarray of the Scottish Ambulance Service”, as two examples of the Scottish Government failing to understand rural communities.
An agreement between the SNP and Greens, which will see two Scottish Green MSPs enter government and move towards a shared policy platform, was announced on Friday.
The Scottish Conservatives have raised concerns the power-sharing deal could be “potentially devastating for the energy sector and the north-east of Scotland in general”.
‘I need to speak out’
In a statement posted online, Ms Blackett said: “On occasions I need to speak out against what is happening and that is impossible to do as an elected member of a party in government.
“If the SNP were in opposition and another political administration holding the reins of power in Holyrood, it would be different; I could be as critical as needed.
“But they are not and therefore I cannot. Thus, my decision to serve you as an independent voice without political constraint.”
Ms Blackett added that she will not be resigning as a councillor “for the simple reason that by-elections are expensive, costing the already stretched public purse many thousands that with the council elections mere months away, cannot be justified.”
However, former SNP candidate Fergus Mutch, who stood in Aberdeenshire West in May’s Holyrood election, tweeted that Ms Blackett should quit as a councillor.
She previously revealed to the Press & Journal that she will not be standing for re-election to Aberdeenshire Council next May, stating “party politics isn’t for her”.
‘Significant pressure on services’
Responding to the claim the Scottish Ambulance Service is in “apparent disarray”, a spokeswoman said: “Like the whole of the NHS, we are currently experiencing significant pressure on our services as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Restrictions easing, staff isolating and lengthy hospital patient handovers have unfortunately resulted in an increase in delays to ambulances reaching non-emergency patients.
“Our highly committed staff are working tirelessly in these challenging times to respond to patients as quickly as possible and investment in new ambulance staff, new ambulances and the latest equipment to support communities in the north of Scotland continues at pace.