Wick and East Caithness councillor named new leader of SNP group in Highland Council
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Wick and East Caithness councillor Raymond Bremner has been named the new leader of the SNP group in Highland Council.
It follows the resignations last month of his predecessors, co-leaders Maxine Smith and Ian Cockburn.
Elected by majority vote at the annual general meeting on Wednesday, Cllr Bremner takes over at a fraught time for the group, less than a week after Cllr Smith resigned from the group along with two others.
His deputy will be fellow north councillor Karl Rosie (Thurso and north-west Caithness) while Inverness Millburn councillor Ian Brown was elected as group whip.
The new leadership, once recognised at a full meeting of the local authority, will be the only non-Inverness area councillors to head up a major political group in Highland Council.
Cllr Bremner said: “It would be inappropriate to comment further on the process that will now take place until there is a meeting of full council to endorse the appointments.
“However, I acknowledge that there is a lot to do in the Highlands and we have a talented team of SNP councillors to help engineer change for the benefit of all our communities in the Highland Council area.
“There have been some unsettling times in our group over past months and I hope, with a new leadership team, we will be able to provide effective influence as a stronger opposition group within the council chamber, bringing forward positive and beneficial change for our communities.
"I would like to thank our former co-leaders Maxine Smith and Ian Cockburn for all the help they have provided to me and many other councillors in our group in their former roles.
"We were sorry to lose three well-respected councillors last week and they will be missed in the group. I hope there can now be a short time of reflection that will provide us with time to create a renewed willingness to build on our successes and strengths.
“From what I see we have a formidable team with a broad range of experiences, expertise and strengths within our group, who want the best for the Highlands. I want to thank the Highland Council SNP group members, personally, for putting their faith in me.”