Edinburgh former Lord Provost Frank Ross resigns from city council's SNP group

Sources link move to SNP’s failure to back compensation for Roseburn traders
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Former Lord Provost Frank Ross today resigned from Edinburgh council's SNP group in a dramatic move which follows a controversial vote at yesterday's full council meeting denying compensation to businesses in his ward hit by a months-long construction project.

Councillor Ross has represented Corstorphine/Murrayfield ward since 2012. He was SNP group leader for a year in the run-up to the 2017 council elections, when Nationalists emerged as the biggest party on the council for the first time, and he would have become council leader but he was ousted by the current leader Adam McVey and accepted the Lord Provostship instead.

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He has clashed with the group on previous occasions and there was speculation more than once about whether he might resign. But his departure from the group was confirmed today by one insider who added "I don't know the reasoning".

Frank Ross has been SNP councillor for Corstorphine/Murrayfield since 2012.Frank Ross has been SNP councillor for Corstorphine/Murrayfield since 2012.
Frank Ross has been SNP councillor for Corstorphine/Murrayfield since 2012.

Other sources suggested Cllr Ross's resignation was a direct result of yesterday's vote against the council giving compensation to the traders in Roseburn who say they have lost up to 70 per cent of their business due to works on the cross-city cycleway outside their premises which began in February.

An SNP motion proposed by Cllr Ross and a joint Lib Dem/Tory motion both called for compensation to be paid and the combined votes of the three parties would have given a comfortable majority. But after their motion was eliminated in the first round of voting, SNP councillors abstained rather than supporting the Lib Dem/Tory motion, allowing it to be defeated by the combined strength of Labour and the Greens voting against compensation.

One councillor said: "People saw Frank walking out immediately after the debate – he just got out of his seat and left the chamber. I thought he was just going to the toilet, but apparently he didn't come back. And now we've heard he has resigned from the group."

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Cllr Ross annoyed the group leadership when he failed to support the SNP-led administration's budget in 2020 because it did not include a commitment of cash for rebuilding Corstorphine community centre destroyed by fire in 2013. And the party made him go through extra vetting before being approved as a candidate for the local elections in May this year, but he was approved and re-elected.

Cllr McVey said: “I'd like to thank Frank for his work over more than a decade on the council. He's been a tireless campaigner for the communities of Corstorphine/Murrayfield, as well making huge achievements leading the city's economic development and then becoming only the second SNP councillor in Edinburgh's history to serve as Lord Provost. We wish him very well for the future post-council." Cllr Ross was approached for comment.