Lochaber SNP councillor rebuffs Lib Dem call to resign after move to Fife

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Fort William and Ardnamurchan SNP councillor Blair Allan has hit back at calls for him to resign from the local authority on the grounds he no longer lives in Lochaber, saying he intends to stay in the role until next May’s council elections.

It was Craig Harrow, the Liberal Democrats’ new candidate and spokesperson for the Ross, Skye and Lochaber seat at Westminster, who urged Councillor Allan to stand down as he now ‘stays in the Central Belt’.

In one of his first public pronouncements after being selected for his new role, Mr Harrow immediately went after Councillor Allan, saying: ‘At a time when we are pulling through the crisis caused by the pandemic with poverty common and personal finances in turmoil we need all councillors to play their part.

Councillor  Angela MacLean, Craig Harrow and Ed Davey MP in Dingwall High Street speaking with residents. NO F42 Craig Harrow
Craig Harrow, centre, with Councillor  Angela MacLean and Lib Dems leader Ed Davey MP in Dingwall High Street speaking with residents recently.

‘The by-election could be on the same day with the one already planned in the ward following the recent sad death of Ian Ramon. There would be no additional cost to the council and the community would be back up to full strength with a new representative.

‘Councillor Allan must be finding it difficult to serve the people who elected him in Fort William and Ardnamurchan from his new base in the Central Belt. I would encourage him to stand down now, to allow a replacement to be sought which would cost the Highland Council no extra money as there is a by-election already planned in the ward.

‘Allowing a new councillor to take over from Councillor Allan would be a fitting tribute to his time in public office which has been considered positive by many in the community. Personally, I am aware of the contribution he has made to the area.

‘The SNP should not block this move which would ensure that Fort William and Ardnamurchan is served by someone in their community rather than an absent councillor.’

Councillor Allan explained to the Lochaber Times, many of the residents of his council ward were aware he had moved to Fife some months ago in order to easier access medical support following a period of ill health.

‘However, I have been, and continue to be, an active councillor and, although I am not actually resident in the area, I continue to assist constituents via telephone and email and attend almost all of the council and committee meetings that I am required to virtually, as do all other councillors during these testing times,’ he told us.

‘It is worth noting that all council meetings have been and will continue to be held remotely for the foreseeable future. Nevertheless, I have been making frequent visits to Fort William, where I still have family, and this has enabled me to have a physical presence in Lochaber when it is necessary to give support to constituents.

‘Until my retirement at the council elections in May of next year I will continue to remain committed to the role and fulfil my duties and responsibilities as an elected member.’