THE first SNP president of the body representing Scotland’s local authorities has been elected.

Shona Morrison, the co-leader of Moray council, has been voted in as the head of Cosla, which represents the interests of councils across Scotland.

It is a coup for the SNP and the first time one of the party’s councillors has held the top spot.

The party now dominates the body's key spokesperson jobs, controlling four out of seven roles. 

Morrison takes over from Alison Evison, who was up for re-election. She won 66 votes (50.38%) to the incumbent's three (2.29%). 

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Labour councillor Heather Brannan-McVey came in second place, four votes behind the winner. 

Glasgow city council leader Susan Aitken, also of the SNP, tweeted: “Huge congratulations to the new Cosla Presidential team Shona Morrison and Stephen Heddle.

“Particularly delighted for my lovely colleague Shona who makes history as the first ever SNP Cosla President. Looking forward to working with you both.”

Heddle, an independent councillor for Kirkwall East in Orkney and former leader of the local authority, has been elected as vice president.

He had also stood for the president position but recieved no votes. 

Cosla allows local authorities to deal collectively with the Scottish Government and has been critical in the past of council budget allowances from central government.

Unison, the biggest union for public sector workers, urged the newly elected leaders to keep up the campaign in improving pay for council staff. 

Johanna Baxter, Unison Scotland’s head of local government, said: “Unison urges Scotland’s council leaders to join their workforce in a call to the Scottish Government to properly fund councils and allow meaningful talks on pay to progress. 

“We cannot forget who got us through the pandemic – it was local government workers who were educating our children, cleaning our streets, caring for our most vulnerable and burying our dead throughout the pandemic. Local government workers keep society running and they all deserve a fair pay rise.”

SNP councillors Katie Hagmann, Maureen Chalmers, and Tony Buchanan took the roles of resources, health and social care, and children and young people spokespeople, respectively. 

Labour councillor Paul Kelly was elected health and social care spokesperson, while Tory councillor Gail MacGregor was voted in as spokesperson for the environment and economy