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'Party politics' forced Dumfries and Galloway councillor to quit SNP just months before election

By Marc McLean & Dumfries and Galloway Standard

A councillor who quit the SNP just three months before the elections has this week revealed he was fed up of “party politics”.

Dougie Campbell announced in March that he was leaving the nationalists and took the risky step of trying to get re-elected to Dumfries and Galloway Council as an independent candidate.

Standing once again to represent Dee and Glenkens, Dougie’s campaigning paid off as he gained 653 votes to earn the third councillor seat in the three member ward.

Dougie said: “There’s no doubt that it’s much more difficult to be elected as an independent candidate, without the support of party finances and activists.

“I was apprehensive about whether people would place their trust in me as an individual rather representing a party.

“However, I learned quickly when speaking to folk that there was support for me based on my track record, my promise to focus entirely on the issues affecting them, and not be constrained or directed by party politics.”

Asked why he decided to leave the SNP after being part of the previous Labour-SNP administration, Dougie replied: “Over the previous five years I’ve learned that party politics in local government can sometimes do more harm than good. What people want is for their councillors to work together and be champions for the communities they represent.

“Trust in politicians is pretty low at the moment and the last thing people want is their councillors trying to score political points against each other.

“During the last five years I worked well with fellow ward councillors, despite coming from different political starting points. I feel that Galloway doesn’t get it’s fair share of resources so it’ll be important for me to be a strong and influential voice for my ward.

“My views on the future independence of Scotland haven’t changed. I still believe that Scotland can flourish as an independent nation in the EU, however current local government arrangements need reform with more power and control over decisions returned to local communities.

“First and foremost, my priority will be what’s in the best interests of the people who elected me however it does appear that an increase in independent councillors will mean we will possibly have more leverage than in the last five years.

“I don’t intend to join any administration, however I want progressive policies which will protect the most vulnerable during the coat of living crisis and will support a green economic recovery.

“This will dictate how I vote on council policies brought forward by an administration.”

Councillor Campbell added: “It’s really difficult to say at this stage who will form the new administration but I’ll be interested to hear what they have to say about the cost of living crisis, recovery from the pandemic and tackling climate change. I won’t compromise my values.

“Independents appear at this stage to have influence over the balance of power, however we need to use this responsibly over the next few years and take the opportunity to positively influence the direction of the council.”

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Dive Deeper:
Edinburgh Election 2022: The winners and losers of this year's council vote
There were a number of closely-fought contests in this year's Edinburgh Council election but ultimately the nine seats lost by…
'We're ruling nothing out': party leaders on who will take control of Dumfries and Galloway Council
The Conservatives are openly inviting talks with opposition councillors about striking a power-sharing deal
Inside the Scottish Greens' best ever local election
THE Scottish Greens achieved something at the recent council elections that the Unionist parties could not – they took votes from the SNP.
SNP will 'happily' speak to councillor behind Islamophobic slur against Humza Yousaf
The party's Stephen Thomson said he wanted to find out Jim Dempster's "intentions and priorities" for Dumfries and Galloway council
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Alba reject John Curtice's verdict that party 'must be over' after council vote
THE Alba project “must be over” after a disappointing council election which saw the party fail to win a seat, one…
This is who could control Scotland's councils after local elections
THE dust may have settled after Scotland’s council elections, but for the most part there is still a lot of…
Get all your news in one place