FORMER Cosla president Alison Evison has revealed she did not stand for Scottish Labour again due to frustration with party politics – and a “touch of realism”.

Evison, who headed the council umbrella group for five years, has now been elected as an independent councillor for Aberdeenshire.

She was previously the only Labour councillor on the local authority, which no longer has any representatives from the party.

Following the election there are 26 Conservatives, 21 SNP, 14 Liberal Democrats, and nine independents elected, with no overall majority.

Speaking at an online seminar held by Glasgow University’s John Smith Centre, she said there were “lots of reasons” for choosing to stand as an independent.

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Evison, who has previously backed a second Scottish independence referendum, said she had a “nagging feeling” that all parties at Holyrood did not have an appreciation of what local government can do.

She said: “There isn’t that appreciation of local choice being important.

“I think we have seen it in the discussions around the workplace parking levy for example, which was proposed originally as an example of discretionary level taxation – as something which could give councils, if they so chose, a way of increasing funding to deliver services that people in that area wanted to deliver in that area.

“That was the background of it – but it has got hijacked across the political system in every way.

“Nationally people are saying our party will never support this, or vice versa. And that is not what it is about.

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“That kind of frustration about that importance of local empowerment not being recognised by the parties.”

But she said there was also a “touch of realism” behind her decision – as she knew she was likely to end up being the only Labour councillor on Aberdeenshire again.

“I have been the only Labour councillor for the last five years in Aberdeenshire, before that there were only two of us,” she said.

“In that position in particular it is really important to be able to work with others in partnership to get things done locally, and the thought that maybe I wouldn’t be able to develop the partnerships I would need to develop to get things done locally.

“You need to be able to work with others at local level and it is crucial that is done in a way which is appropriate to the local areas.

“So that was the other particular driving force as well – if I was going to be elected I wanted to be in a position to work for my constituents, to work for people across the Mearns and deliver what they had elected me to do.”