SNP closer to gaining Dundee City Council
Dundee West Labour MP Jim McGovernIf Mr Letford wishes to be reminded of what principles actually are, he need look no further than his former colleagues in the city council Labour group - they still have them
The Scottish National Party (SNP) looks closer than ever to gaining Dundee City Council after making a deal with the Lord Provest who has just resigned from the Labour party.
He has become an independent after being with Labour for 30 years.
For the SNP to take over there has to be a vote with all the elected councillors.
The Council at the moment is run by a Labour/Lib Democrats coalition but around two weeks ago the SNP won a by-election.
So if you take the by-election win and the guaranteed vote by the Lord Provost, John Letford,it means now the SNP hold 15 seats, Labour has 8, the Conservatives 3, the Liberal Democrats 2 and one other independent.
With all the others combined that brings the total to 14 meaning the SNP will take over the 29 seat council as the major party and will become the new head of the council.
Lord Provost Letford has clearly stated in the press for years that he has been unhappy about many things within his own ranks.
He though it was unfair that the SNP councillors, all 14 of them, the larger elected party were left out of important and key votes because they were not the governing party.
He said this to BBC Scotland news:
"Independent is now what I am and it will give me the freedom and flexibility to express my view."
"I was reminded by my family, which was crucial in my decision, they said, 'you didn't bring us up not to speak our mind and we would like you to do the same.'
"They said, 'dad, please don't abstain [during the vote], you've never done it in your life and just vote the way your conscience directs you'."
The leader of the SNP group, Ken Guild, said: "We were aware for quite some time that there were differences between John and the Labour group.
"Given the fact that John has been a member of the Labour Party for years, I think it obviously required a great deal of soul searching on his part and I think it's taken a great deal of moral courage on his part to do what he's done.
"We did say when were kept out of power yet again by a rather strange coalition that we were one by-election away from an administration and I think we've proved our point."
Dundee West Labour MP Jim McGovern served with Mr Letford on Tayside Regional Council.
He said: "I am sure I can recall him saying of himself in one meeting that if you cut him in two he would be like a stick of rock with Labour and trade union movement written right through.
"Sadly, it would seem that the status and perhaps the financial considerations which come with the chain of office have served to gnaw away at the principles contained in that stick of rock, until they no longer exist.
"If Mr Letford wishes to be reminded of what principles actually are, he need look no further than his former colleagues in the city council Labour group. They still have them."