Good news this lunchtime for the Renfrewshire Liberal Democrat Council Group. Cllr Mike Dillon, who joined the SNP Group in May has reconsidered and come back to us. Here he is with Willie today.
Mike has clearly seen that the grass is not greener on the SNP side. I am glad that both he and the Council group, led by Cllr Eileen McCartin, have been grown up enough to let bygones be bygones. It takes a lot of character to do that in these circumstances and I'm proud of them both.
Mike Dillon said:
I am delighted to rejoin the Liberal Democrats. “I have been very impressed with Willie Rennie’s leadership of the party since the Scottish election and feel that he is absolutely taking us in the right direction.
“His opposition to the centralisation instincts of the SNP has never been more important. “I also believe that Paisley will be best served by having as many Liberal Democrats elected to the council as possible in elections next May. We have been doing great things for Paisley and I want to keep doing so.”
Welcoming him back, Willie Rennie said:
“I’m thrilled to welcome Mike back to the party.
“Many of the people in Paisley and right across Scotland who voted for the SNP in May can now see that they are taking Scotland in the wrong direction. “By centralising services like the police and fire brigade, the SNP have revealed themselves not as a party for the people but a party obsessed with power. “Mike is one of many people who, after a brief flirtation with the SNP, are returning home to a strong relationship with the Scottish Liberal Democrats.”
This party isn't great at holding grudges, fortunately. Now, I don't expect that Hugh O'Donnell, our former MSP who resigned just before the election in May, will rejoin the party, but I was really encouraged by his tweet that he had a good chat with Willie Rennie and Jim Hume in Parliament.
Hugh was, is and always will be a friend of mine. He continues to have many friends inside the party and he is widely respected across Scotland for his work on autism among other things. It makes me feel really happy to see that there is no personal animosity between these three, who are all among my favourite people.