Council leader Adam McVey under fire for not wearing tie

Adam McVey is the only man who signed the City Deal who wasn't wearing a tie. Picture: Greg Macvean
Adam McVey is the only man who signed the City Deal who wasn't wearing a tie. Picture: Greg Macvean

HE has taken on the Capital’s most important job at the age of just 30.

But it’s not his youth, but rather the new Edinburgh Council leader’s “casual” attire that has been raising 
eyebrows.

Adam McVey found himself under fire over his dress sense after he appeared without a tie at the signing ceremony for Edinburgh’s City Deal.

Pictures of the event last week show him with an open-necked shirt alongside government ministers and other council leaders, and all the other men were wearing ties.

That prompted one Capital stalwart to write to Cllr McVey, taking him to task.

Norman Tinlin, who is secretary of Fairmilehead community council but wrote in a personal capacity, said he felt compelled to “express my disgust at your attire”.

He continued: “Whilst you are free to dress as you wish in your time, I would hope that when you are representing the City of Edinburgh at official functions, meetings and particularly at council meetings you would at least dress properly and in a manner befitting your position. At the very least, in my opinion, this should be the wearing of a tie.”

Mr Tinlin added: “I have found in my experience that those that are casual of dress are casual of mind.”

And he finished: “If you don’t have a tie, or can’t afford one, then I am willing to purchase one for you.”

Mr Tinlin, a former policeman, said it did not look good for the city if Cllr McVey was not dressed properly.

“Other people have commented on it to me and said it doesn’t give the right image.”

Cllr McVey replied to Mr Tinlin, thanking him for his thoughts.

He said: “I agree that those representing the city have a responsibility to project an image of Edinburgh that is appropriate. I’m sure you’ll not be surprised when I say I don’t think that requires me to wear a tie.

“The administration I lead is aiming to be an open and accessible one for everyone in Edinburgh. I have no doubt we’ll achieve our goals as a city and build on our success and I’m working hard to ensure we deliver.”

One councillor said several people had commented on Cllr McVey’s habitual lack of a tie.

“The council leader often meets people in quite senior positions and I suppose people were used to seeing Andrew Burns [previous council leader] in a suit on these occasions.

“You could argue it doesn’t affect his actual work, but people’s appearance does say something.”

But former councillor Steve Cardownie, who served spells as deputy council leader and deputy lord provost, defended Cllr McVey’s right not to wear a tie. “It’s what’s inside his head, not what’s round his neck that’s important,” he said.

“Sometimes at full council I wore a tie and sometimes I didn’t – it depended what mood I was in at the time – but if I didn’t wear a tie I would wear a suit.

“Many people were brought up that you should always wear a tie, but times have moved on.

“You can look smart without a tie. I would draw the line at wearing jeans. But there’s no reason why ‘smart but casual’ shouldn’t be the order of the day.”

Cllr McVey said: “I’m always happy to take fashion tips but my suits, shirts and jumpers will not build the new homes we need or improve the life chances of a single person in the Capital.”

iswanson@edinburghnews.com