BORDERS SNP councillors are seeking a power-sharing agreement with the Tory-led administration, which would see executive roles being given over to opposition councillors. 

Opposition councillors have previously held roles on the executive committee, but these positions were abolished after council leader Shona Haslam’s Tory party took control of the council in 2017. 

At Thursday’s full council meeting, councillors will vote on a motion from opposition leader Stuart Bell, which would effectively reinstate opposition councillors to the executive. 

Councillor Bell, who represents Tweeddale East, said: “I have long held that an organisation makes better decisions if it takes into account all points of view, even those it disagrees with. 

“Taking account of opposing views is not only one of the principles underpinning John Stuart Mill’s views on free speech; but a society, or a committee, or a council cannot legitimately call itself democratic if it doesn’t countenance opposing viewpoints.

“These were driving forces behind my support in the last administration for opening up of three places on the council’s executive for the opposition.  

“The Tories were the principal opposition in the last council and at first they took up these three places.  

“Although after a couple of years Conservative members resigned from the executive, they did so with no formal explanation and we left the places open.

“I was deeply disappointed that the first practical decision of the incoming Tory-led administration in 2017 was to abolish opposition places on the council’s executive; again with no substantive explanation.”

Out of the 32 Scottish local authorities, only five implement the same system as Scottish Borders Council and draw the executive solely from the ruling administration.