The Scottish National Party will field a candidate in Selkirkshire at the Scottish Borders Council elections on May 4 – despite the party’s previous incumbent standing as an independent this time round.
Kenneth Gunn, of Selkirk, was elected to the three-member ward as an SNP councillor in 2007.
The retired printer and newspaper publisher again carried the party ticket into the 2012 polls but came fourth out of five hopefuls.
Announcing his candidature as an Independent, Mr Gunn told the Wee Paper: “While I stood as a party candidate for the SNP in 2007, I had previously believed the business of local government should not be controlled or influenced by political parties of any persuasion or colour.
“Nothing I saw in my five years as a councillor convinced me that my first judgement was wrong. I thank the SNP for its support in 2007.
“If elected, my first priority will be to serve the people of Selkirkshire and not any political party.”
All three Selkirkshire councillors elected in 2012 – Conservative Michelle Ballantyne, independent Gordon Edgar and Lib Dem Vicky Davidson – have confirmed their intentions to stand again on May 4.
Asked for his thoughts on Mr Gunn’s decision to stand as an independent, Tweeddale East councillor Stuart Bell, leader of the council’s power-sharing SNP group, said: “I like Kenneth Gunn and wish him well, but I fear his memory is playing tricks on him.
“SNP candidates are not controlled by the party – they are approved by the party.
“Right up until January 31 this year, Kenneth was a member of the SNP and had been seeking approval as a candidate for the party.
“One of the advantages the public has in voting for a councillor is that all parties carefully consider whether an individual has the necessary competencies, skills and experience to be a public representative.
“It just so happened that on the very day the SNP informed Kenneth that he did not meet the standards to represent our party as a candidate, he sent a letter resigning from the SNP and notifying us he would stand as an independent.
“I assure you that the SNP will be putting up a candidate in the Selkirkshire ward. She has a local track record, the necessary competencies, skills and experience and will very soon be declared all with our candidates in other Borders wards.”