Allard appointed Co-Leader as Yuill throws support of partnership behind him
Updated: May 30
Opposition councillors voted against the motion, arguing that the matter was not urgent
By Josh Pizzuto-Pomaco
Photo Credit: Aberdeen City Council
Councillor Christian Allard was appointed co-leader of Aberdeen City Council on Tuesday afternoon after the Urgent Business Committee voted along party lines to elect him to the position.
Allard, a councillor for Torry and Ferryhill, was elected as SNP group leader at their AGM last week.
He recently came under criticism for his comments surrounding Big Noise Torry, a music charity serving underprivileged children in his ward.
During debate in March, Allard said that the programme had 'no impact whatsoever' and added he would not vote to fund the programme even if the council had the money.
Allard survived a vote of no confidence last month as opposition councillors led by conservative Michael Kusznir tabled a motion which would have stripped him of his role as the Council's anti-poverty czar.
Led by Liberal Democrat Ian Yuill, the Council's current co-leader, the four administration councillors on the committee were united in support of Allard.
Not so with the three opposition councillors, who tabled an amendment contending that the matter was not urgent and should be referred to full Council for a vote.
Labour Councillors Ross Grant and Barney Crockett argued that the 'controversy' surrounding Allard due to the Big Noise fracas was serious enough to justify postponement of his appointment to the 14 June council meeting.
Yuill himself had an eventful half hour, as opposition councillors also sought to remove him as co-leader.
The opposition wanted to nominate Cllr Crockett as co-leader instead of Allard, but per council rules, this could not occur unless Yuill (as co-leader of the partnership administration) also stood down from his role as council chief.
As such, the three opposition councillors moved to suspend the relevant standing orders and remove Yuill as co-leader.
The motion was predictably voted down as Yuill jovially dismissed the attempt to fully reset council leadership.
Yuill was much more serious in defence of the Council's new boss, however, commenting that any previous decisions made by Allard were 'partnership decisions' and supported by all 24 members of the Lib Dem/SNP administration.
Speaking to Allard, who was present in the chamber, Yuill added that he was looking forward to working with the newly minted SNP leader, and wanted to be the first to congratulate him on his new role.
Councillor Allard was approached for comment on today's proceedings and any steps he'd take to bring the chamber together after the contentious nomination process.
Through a press officer (and later via Twitter, Allard told us: 'It is a tremendous honour to have been appointed as Co-leader of Aberdeen City Council.
'I am looking forward to putting in the hard work that will help to make Aberdeen a fairer and more prosperous city in the future.
'I believe there are two great challenges in particular that stand between us and that better future. We need to step up our fight against poverty, and we need to lead our city on the path to Net-Zero.
'It is a statement of intent that we now have both co-leaders directly in charge of the council's efforts to tackle poverty and to make Aberdeen the Net Zero Capital of the world.'
Allard's sense of optimism was not shared by Labour Councillor Ross Grant, who told The Gaudie:
'The verdict from the people of Aberdeen on this ailing Lib Dem/SNP administration is far from positive and Aberdeen Labour does not believe that Councillor Allard should have been rewarded following his handling of the scrapping of Big Noise project. Aberdeen Labour has called on the new Co-Leader to learn from their mistakes and finally start standing up for our communities rather than damaging them.'