Council leader voting ‘Yes’ to independence

David Parker
David Parker

News that Scottish Borders Council leader, Councillor David Parker, will vote ‘yes’ in the independence referendum in September has been greeted with delight by ‘Yes’ campaigners.

Ayton based SNP South of Scotland MSP Paul Wheelhouse said: “I have known Councillor Parker for a number of years and know David is very well respected, not only in the Scottish Borders, but amongst councillors around the country that he works with in his capacity as council leader.

“The fact that David, who I have great respect for as a councillor and who has strived to deliver the best for our area for almost two decades, backs a Yes vote, and can see the opportunities it would bring for the Scottish Borders, speaks volumes. David’s decision indicates the strength of argument which is driving growing levels of support for Scottish independence.

“I am absolutely delighted David is backing the positive campaign for Independence. David will be a huge asset as an advocate for independence and I look forward to campaigning with him, and the growing grassroots Yes campaign, so we can ensure we deliver the opportunities for the Scottish Borders that we both can see will come with independence.”

Councillor Parker’s decision to vote yes in September’s independence referendum is no great surprise. Now in his 19th year in local politics Mr Parker, an independent, started off his political career as an SNP councillor.

He resigned as the SNP party leader in 2002 when the council was struggling with a £4 million budget deficit and as an independent took over as council leader a year later, working with Liberal Democrats to get the council on a more stable financial footing.

At the time Mr Parker, who represents the Leaderdale and Melrose ward said: “I had always been an SNP supporter and was group leader on the council until last year. But I had a very serious difference of opinion with the party over my involvement in efforts to turn round the council’s financial fortunes.

“The SNP officials made it clear they would not allow me to join the administration and started disciplinary proceedings with a view to having me thrown out, so I resigned and became an independent.”