A TWO-TIMING councillor has been exposed as a cheat by his long-term partner who e-mailed politicians asking why they hadn’t told her about his affair.
SNP whip Gavin Barrie, 55, was left humiliated after colleagues received a message denouncing them for apparently covering up a fling with a local party employee.
It is understood the retired firefighter struck up a relationship with married mother-of-two Elaine McCafferty, believed to be in her late 30s, at the group’s Christmas bash last year and the tryst had been kept secret for months.
But Carol Blackburn, Cllr Barrie’s partner of 28 years, lifted the lid on the affair after Mrs McCafferty’s husband phoned her to break the news of the infidelity.
She then launched a tirade against all 18 SNP councillors on Edinburgh City Council for not having the “decency” to inform her of the tryst or convince Cllr Barrie to “come clean and own up”.
In Ms Blackburn’s e-mail, she reveals how this was “not the first time” Cllr Barrie had strayed and hit out at his SNP colleagues who she believes were “complicit” in hiding the relationship. She said it was “so cruel” that she had to be told by “Elaine’s distraught husband”.
She added: “I hope this never happens to you and yours and that your group can behave in a more moralistic upstanding and family orientated manner than seems to be happening at the moment. I do not want any replies, I just want you to know I do not hold you or your party in any regard at all.”
Party sources today said news of the affair had come as a “surprise” to many, though it is believed confidants of Cllr Barrie may have suspected it.
Cllr Barrie, who represents Inverleith Ward, is highly regarded politically and had been tipped as the “natural successor” to Steve Cardownie, leader of the Edinburgh SNP group.
Crunch talks to discuss the bombshell e-mail and situation are understood to have taken place yesterday. The matter is due to be discussed at an SNP group meeting next month.
Our source added: “Gavin has been quite open about the fact he has had certain dalliances with members of the fairer sex so this is not something that’s unexpected but it is very painful for others. There were two or three people who perhaps had some idea but speaking to others there is genuine shock.”
Another source said there was an “indication” Cllr Barrie and Mrs McCafferty would now “embark on a long-term relationship”.
A rival councillor said: “Cllr Barrie’s actions undermine his role as the whip but in terms of his political future we will have to wait to detemine any impact.”
Elaine McCafferty is understood to have worked as a business manager for SNP council group for six years. Cllr Barrie was elected to City Chambers in May 2012 and lives in Warriston. He previously served with Lothian and Borders Fire and Rescue and was chair and treasurer for the Fire Brigades Union.
The News was unable to contact Cllr Barrie and Mrs McCafferty. Ms Blackburn declined to comment.
A spokesman for the SNP council group said: “It’s an entirely personal issue between the people involved and it would be inappropriate to make any comment.”
An SNP national spokesperson said: “We regard such matters as private.”