Lib Dem councillor defects to SNP over Edinburgh trams fiasco

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by a Newsnet reporter

Edinburgh Councillor Elaine Morris, a former chair of the Lib Dem group in the city council has abandoned the Liberal Democrats and joined the SNP.

Ms Morris cited her dissatisfaction with the UK coalition Government and the party’s failure to provide leadership on the Edinburgh trams debacle as reasons for her decision.

She is one of an increasing number of Lib Dems and Lib Dem councillors turning to the SNP as the party face the wrath of voters and members over their decision to form a coalition with David Cameron’s Tory party.

Steve Cardownie, Deputy Leader of Edinburgh Council and Leader of the SNP group welcomed Ms Morris to the party saying:

“She is not the first person from the Lib Dems to join the SNP and won’t be the last.  More and more people from all parties are turning to the SNP and I welcome Elaine to the team.

“She is a hard working and diligent councillor and I know she will continue to make a strong contribution to the city.”

Cllr Morris spoke of her growing dissatisfaction with the UK coalition and said she had been “horrified” when the party leadership abandoned some of its pre-election pledges including imposing tuition fees on students.

Ms Morris added: “I have found it increasingly difficult to support the party’s stance nationally and am disappointed with the failure locally to provide leadership on Edinburgh’s tram project.

“The Lib Dems took responsibility for the scheme in administration and they have not been good guardians of the project.  I initially backed the trams but we cannot commit to trams at any cost.

“Leaving the Lib Dems has been one of the most difficult decisions I have made but the SNP offer a clear political leadership, principled policies and vision for Edinburgh that I know I and many other Lib Dems across the city support.”

This week saw polls that gave the Lib Dems as little as 1% support amongst Scottish voters.  The party were decimated at the recent Scottish elections and were left with only five seats which was eleven down from their pre-election total of sixteen.