Donald Manford (left) and Gordon Murray

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar SNP Group have appointed a new Group Leader after Councillor Donald Manford recently decided to step down from the role.

Stornoway North Councillor, Gordon Murray will take over from Councillor Manford. Councillor Manford, will continue as the local member for Barra, Vatersay, Eriskay & South Uist.

Cllr Donald Manford commented: “After ten years as the SNP Group Leader on CnES, the time is right for me to hand over the reins to someone else. Working closely with colleagues and guiding the group over the past decade has been a huge privilege. I will now be concentrating all my efforts on ensuring that the Comhairle focuses more effort on tackling the huge issues of disparity and opportunity facing the Southern Isles in particular.”

Cllr Gordon Murray commented: “I am honoured to have been elected by the Group to replace Donald. He has been at the heart of our growth at the Comhairle and in presenting a real vision for change as set out in our published manifesto. Donald is the voice of calm and intelligent commentary in the Chamber. The Group has benefited enormously from his advice, leadership and experience. I am delighted that he will still be there to support me as I take on my new role as Group Leader.”

Local MSP Alasdair Allan commented: “Donald has made an immensely valuable contribution to our local politics in his time as leader of the SNP group on the Comhairle. A passionate advocate of localism and a fierce defender of his own community, he has often found himself the lone voice of dissent where dissent has been desperately needed.

“While Donald is simply irreplaceable, I have known Gordon for a long time and I have every confidence he will bring the kind of dynamic and enthusiastic leadership that we need. He has made a name for himself as one of the most trusted and hardest working councillors in the Isles, as was shown in the recent Comhairle elections where he easily topped the poll in his ward of Steòrnabhagh a Tuath and nearly tripled his vote share.”

Local MP Angus MacNeil commented: “Donald Manford is an admirable and tireless worker. His passion and drive never seems to end literally to the point of exhaustion as we saw at the Council Election Count. In a way I am glad that he is leaving the burden of Group Leadership behind, but I just know that whatever gap that leaves will be filled by something else which Donald will work tirelessly on.

“Gordon Murray is diligent, hardworking and compassionate. He is a progressive thinker and is passionate about ensuring real community engagement and involvement in decision-making across all the Islands and I wish him well in his role as Group Leader.”