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11.03.19

Calls to end to ‘complete farce’ over nine Aberdeen’s councillors’ suspensions

Aberdeen City Council’s SNP group leader has called for the nine suspended councillors to be expelled from their party and end the “complete farce” in the party.

As reported by the BBC, a senior director at the council was also suspended over the weekend with the council refusing to comment on “individual staffing matters” pending a full investigation.

This comes 21 months after a group of nine Labour councillors were suspended by the party after they formed an administration with the Conservative Party Group against the orders of the then-party leader Kezia Dugdale.

The so-called ‘Aberdeen nine’ have remained suspended by Labour and now the SNP group leader at the city council, Stephen Flynn, has called for Scottish Labour party to officially expel the councillors.

Flynn said the councillors, whilst under suspension, have been openly campaigning for the Scottish Labour Group leader Richard Leonard to break his silence and take action.

The SNP councillor said: “With suspended councillors now campaigning in Aberdeen for Richard Leonard, it’s clear their supposed suspension is little more than empty rhetoric.

“The whole situation is a complete farce and has dragged on for far too long and it is 21 months since their initial suspension. Mr Leonard appears happy to sit silent if it means those councillors will knock doors on his behalf.

“If he wants to be seen as anything approaching a credible politician, then he needs to take action and expel these councillors for good.”

An Aberdeen Labour Group spokesperson said: “It is hardly breaking news to find out that card-carrying Aberdeen Labour councillors have been out on the campaign trail promoting Labour policies and highlighting the devastating impact the SNP Government’s austerity cuts to council budgets will have on local residents.”

The Aberdeen nine’s case is currently awaiting a hearing at the National Constitutional Committee (NCC) and it does have the power to expel members.

A Scottish Labour Party spokesperson said: “The party leader has no say in disciplinary processes.

“The NCC is the only body with the power to expel members and is independent of the party’s leadership, who have no say over its decisions or when it hears cases.”

Another councillor, this time from the Scottish Conservative Party, was suspended from the party and as depute provost in January after a police investigation was carried out into sexual harassment allegations made against councillor Alan Donnelly.

Image credit - T. Thielemans

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