Falkirk councillor resigns from SNP to become independent elected representative
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Laura Murtagh, who has represented Carse, Kinnaird and Tryst as an SNP member since she was first elected back in 2017, has now announced her resignation from the party.
In a statement on her council Facebook page Councillor Murtagh said: "The eagle eyed among you may have noticed a small change to the name of my page, which no longer bears the party emblem and SNP letters that have been a constant in my life for the past 25 years.
"While their removal may have taken a matter of moments to accomplish, to me this represents no small change and is indeed one I have agonised over for some considerable time.
“In common with many colleagues locally and nationally, the SNP have been my home, my family, my joy - at times my despair - and always, my vehicle with which to work for change for a better future for Scotland, social justice and our precious global environment.
"My passion for our shared vision is undiminished. On a personal level, it has been the deepest honour to work alongside profoundly talented, caring and inspiring colleagues within the party and the greatest privilege to have been elected under an SNP banner to represent local constituents.
"The friendships and links I have shared and developed over that time have been immeasurably precious and it is my genuine wish to continue many of those friendships and connections despite my departure.”
“Though I have made the difficult decision to leave the Falkirk SNP council group (and through extension of national rules, the party), I wish nothing but the deepest personal happiness and professional success to former colleagues.
"I will continue to work towards shared goals and my door will always be open to anyone wishing to pursue policies with shared principles and passion, whether at council or elsewhere.
“Although my decision was enormously difficult and made with reluctance, it has been entirely my own and instigated solely through my own reflections.
"While I have no intention to comment further on the detail of local or personal circumstances which led to my decision, inevitably I concluded that I could play no further part in the SNP Council group in Falkirk and gave notice of my resignation in recent days.
"I am confident that this is the right decision and will allow me to get on with the important task of representing my constituents to the best of my ability and scrutinising the work and decision making of the council at all levels.
“I care passionately about the people and places I represent and hope that this decision represents the best opportunity for me to be able to make a positive difference to local communities in Carse, Kinnaird and Tryst and across Falkirk District, in the years to come.
“A sincere thank you to all those who have expressed and continue to show their support though this difficult process. It has meant a lot.”
Falkirk Council leader and SNP councillor Cecil Meiklejohn said she was “saddened” by Councillor Murtagh’s decision, but respected it.
She added: “I would like to thank her for her service and the huge amount of work that she has carried out over the years on behalf of the SNP, both locally and nationally, including as a member of the council group.
“She has indicated that she is open to dialogue and willing to continue to work towards shared goals, and I welcome that. I hope that we can continue to have a positive relationship going forward.”