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Christian Allard elected as SNP Aberdeen leader

Updated: May 16, 2023

Anti-Poverty Convener recently came under fire for calls to defund Big Noise Torry

By Josh Pizzuto-Pomaco

Cllrs Radley, Allard, and McLellan (L-R). Photo Credit: Aberdeen SNP.

UPDATE: An administration source has told The Gaudie that concens over Councillor Christian Allard's appointment have been raised from 'both sides' of the ruling SNP-Liberal Democrat partnership.

The source said: ' I think it would be fair to say that there is widespread concern with Councillor Allard’s appointment as co-leader, particularly considering his abysmal comments about SISTEMA... That concen is spread throughout the administration.'

Allard, convenor of the powerful Anti-Poverty and Inequality committee, was tapped as the next leader of Aberdeen SNP during the party's annual general meeting Monday evening.

In a press release, Aberdeen SNP also announced that Cllr Miranda Radley will serve as Depute Leader, with Cllr Alexander McLellan serving as group convenor.

Allard, 59, represents Torry and Ferryhill ward and was first elected to the Council in 2017.

Born in Dijon, France, Allard moved to Aberdeen several decades ago to work in the fishing industry.

Prior to his responsibilities on the Council, Allard served as an MSP for North East Scotland from 2013-2016, as well as a member of the European Parliament for Scotland from 2019-2020.

In a statement, Allard said: 'I am delighted that my colleagues have put their faith in me to lead them, this Partnership and this council forward.

“As we face the many difficult challenges ahead, I will remain focused on what I believe are the greatest of these, tackling poverty and establishing our city as a world leader in the fight against climate change.

“I am determined to build a more prosperous and fairer future for everyone in our city, and to make Aberdeen a better place to live, work and grow up.'

Allard faces challenge in restoring public trust in Council

Allard takes on the new role as the SNP-Lib Dem administration has faced a serious legitimacy crisis just a year into their control of the Council.

Allard found himself at the centre of controversy in March as he called for funding cuts to Big Noise Torry, a free music programme serving disadvantaged students in Torry.

Allard stated that the Big Noise programme had ‘no impact whatsoever,’ as it had not led to increased attendance or educational attainment for students at Torry schools.

At a meeting in early March, he told councillors, ‘Let’s be very clear, if we had the money, we wouldn’t do it either.’

Yet, after the Scottish government stepped in to provide funding just days later, Allard appeared to change his mind, saying that the provision of funding was 'great news for the young people of Torry.

Allard, who survived a vote of no confidence on party lines in late April, enters leadership as the Council faces legal action over budget cuts to community facilities across the city.

Six libraries and a swimming pool were earmarked for closure following the passage of the administration's first budget in March.

Since then, thousands have signed petitions calling on the Council to reopen the facilities.

With campaigners taking the Council to court last week over potential breaches of the Equality Act, the cuts have very much remained in the public consciousness.

It remains to be seen if Allard's election will spur the ruling administration to reverse the cuts.

A key indicator may take place on Wednesday, as the SNP-controlled Finance and Resource committee will consider a motion by independent councillor Marie Boulton to divert funds from the Beach Masterplan in order to reopen the libraries and pool.

Allard is expected to be confirmed as the co-leader of the Council at an urgent business meeting next week.


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