Party battlelines drawn in war over boundaries

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East Lothian Labour politicians have hit out at a leading SNP councillor, claiming that he has suggested that East Lothian Council does not have a future in its current format.

They said writing in his monthly blog, Councillor Stuart Currie, the SNP group’s deputy leader, stated: “It’s hard to argue for a local authority with much less than 200,000 of a population.”

The council’s area has a current population of around 100,000.

He also wrote: “Now we have changes coming on one police service and one fire service for Scotland, then why have the NHS boards and local authorities survived the wind of change and efficiency?”

The Labour activists claimed Councillor Currie’s position raised the prospect of a merger with a neighbouring authority, a move they believed would dilute the current crucial focus on local communities which a council the size of East Lothian was able to achieve.

They added that the council’s previous SNP ruling group had initiated a shared services agenda with Midlothian which Labour had started to roll back since returning to power after the elections in May.

Councillor Willie Innes, Labour council leader, said: “It looks very much like he wants to do away with East Lothian Council, perhaps through a merger with Midlothian to reach his magic figure of 200,000 people.

“I’m sure many local people will share my anger about this new position on the council’s future.”

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