Hawick councillor to remain in state of independence

Hawick and Hermitage councillor Davie Paterson is to remain independent.Hawick and Hermitage councillor Davie Paterson is to remain independent.
Hawick and Hermitage councillor Davie Paterson is to remain independent.
The longest-serving councillor in the Borders is to remain in a state of independence after having moves to rejoin the Scottish National Party rebuffed.

Davie Paterson quit the SNP in 2001 after being affiliated to it for 14 years and has since represented Scottish Borders Council’s Hawick and Hermitage ward as an independent.

After almost two decades away from party politics, though, Mr Paterson recently held talks with SNP representatives locally with a view to rejoining the party.

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That decision was fuelled by his growing frustration at what he sees as the UK Government’s refusal to give Scotland a say in staying within the European Union despite the majority of Scots voting to remain at 2016’s referendum.

However, those talks stalled after Mr Paterson, 65, insisted on remaining as an independent councillor on the council, a stance the SNP could not agree to because it breaches party rules.

Mr Paterson said he accepts that decision and bears no grudges, explaining: “I wanted to join the SNP but remain as an independent on the council.

“That was what I was elected as and what I will stay as to the end of my time on the council because I don’t intend to stand for re-election.

“That was not possible for the SNP to agree to, so I’m just leaving it as it is. I understand the SNP’s stance. There is no animosity.”

As part of his potential return to the fold, Mr Paterson even joined members of Tweeddale’s SNP group at a recent independence rally in Glasgow.

Mr Paterson, set to celebrate 32 years of continuous service on the council and its predecessors come May, added: “They wanted me to join the SNP group and I wanted to remain an independent councillor while being a member of the SNP.

“There was an issue with party discipline and that it could have led to friction, so I just said to forget it, I’ll remain as an independent guy.”

“I’m fine with that, and I still get on fine with the Tweeddale SNP group.”