THE WEE COUNTY'S sole independent councillor has rejoined the ranks of the SNP.

North Ward elected representative Archie Drummond, who is returning from a suspension at the end of next month, has confirmed the move today.

The councillor had previously been a member of the party, but resigned to reflect the “all party and non-party nature” of Tillicoultry Action Group, where he is a member and which supported him during the election campaign in 2012.

Councillor Drummond explained: “It’s really quite simple; I am firmly of the opinion that services to people in Clackmannanshire are safer in the hands of the SNP.

“In a few short months we have seen a 'Tory/Labour coalition' dismantle public accountability to committees and throw a cloak of secrecy over the political and performance decisions of the council.

“It’s a return to the shenanigans of 2011 when decisions taken behind closed doors would have stripped vital services from my community, but for the work of the Tillicoultry Community Action Group that exposed their activities and gave voice to the community.

“That campaign led to my election and to reflect the all party and non party nature of the action group, I resigned from the SNP to stand on an independent ticket.

“Unlike Labour, who courted my support back then, the SNP Group had a programme for Clackmannanshire which I could support and we reached a supply and confidence agreement which has served us well and has allowed me, as an independent, to influence matters that benefit my communities and Clackmannanshire.”

There is no formal coalition between the Labour Group and Tory Councillor Alastair Campbell; however, he has often voted with Councillor Bobby McGill and his team.

Following Councillor Drummond's suspension in May, the then SNP administration lost its helping hand and Labour, then in opposition, voted through changes to standing orders and impacted convenerships with the help of Conservative Councillor Campbell, ultimately leading to the resignation of the SNP as it was “unable to command a majority”.

Councillor Drummond continued: “In those four years things have changed and I have supported the SNP in national and UK elections. More importantly, however, many of those who initially urged me to remain independent have themselves joined the ever-growing SNP and many more have supported the SNP.

“So like all those people that I represent, I too have rejoined the SNP and look forward to working more closely with my colleagues as a member of the SNP group.

“I will continue to work constructively for my constituents but now as part of a team who share my views about the future of our county.”

Clackmannanshire now has nine SNP, eight Labour and one Conservative councillors. While Mr Drummond's suspension tipped the balance of power at the beginning of summer, the new move should not worry council leader Bobby McGill too much, so along as they continue to work with Councillor Campbell.

If there is ever a tie when it comes to decisions in the council chambers, the provost has the casting vote, which is how the SNP got by previously.

Councillor Les Sharp, leader of the SNP Group, added: “I’m very pleased to welcome Councillor Drummond to the SNP group.

“In all the interactions I’ve had with him over the years, he has always demonstrated the highest commitment to his community and to Clackmannanshire.

“Archie has a reputation as a hard-working local councillor who is very highly regarded and I look forward to working with him more closely in the coming months.”