Council Tory group confirmed after party split

Graham Nicol will lead the Tories on Dumfries and Galloway Council
Graham Nicol will lead the Tories on Dumfries and Galloway Council

The Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party has confirmed its official group within Dumfries and Galloway Council.

Following the resignation of six councillors, the new group of eight will be led by Councillor Graham Nicol, and will be the only Scottish Conservative representation on the local authority.

The other six Tory councillors will now serve as independents.

Scottish Conservative council group leader Graham Nicol said: “We are now the sole representatives of the Scottish Conservative and Unionist party on Dumfries and Galloway Council.

“The eight councillors will ensure that voters in this area are represented with centre-right views on all issues.

“What the six other councillors do is entirely a matter for them.

“The Scottish Conservative group is now confirmed, and we look forward to working effectively and efficiently for the people of Dumfries and Galloway.”

The eight in the group are Graham Nicol, Gill Dykes, Finlay Carson, Patsy Gilroy, Gail McGregor, Ian Blake, Dennis Male and Ivor Hyslop.

In September 2013, seven Conservative members resigned over an alleged “loss of confidence” in former leader Ivor Hyslop.

The split forced the council to form a new ruling Labour / SNP coalition. The shock resignations reduce the 15-strong Conservative group to eight.

The breakaway group formed the Dumfries and Galloway Independent Conservative and Unionists’ group which, they said, “reflected more closely Conservative policies”.

The six councillors serving as independents are Roberta Tuckfield, Ian Carruthers, Karen Carruthers, Graeme Bell, Jack Groom and Peter Diggle. The seventh member who resigned in 2013, Graeme Tait, has since defected to Labour.