Councillor Steve Cardownie wins apology in blog row

Steve Cardownie
Steve Cardownie
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DEPUTY Lord Provost Steve Cardownie has won an apology from a former SNP council colleague after suing him for defamation.

Jim Orr, who has sat as an independent for Southside/Newington since quitting the SNP in 2014, made allegations about Cllr Cardownie last year in a blog post, which he later removed.

Cllr Cardownie launched a legal action when Cllr Orr refused to apologise.

At yesterday’s last full council meeting before next week’s local elections, Cllr Cardownie – who is standing down after 29 years at the City Chambers – revealed Cllr Orr had now apologised and withdrawn the allegations, but only after the case had gone to court.

Cllr Cardownie told the council: “By virtue of certain allegations in a blog by Cllr Orr, I wrote to Cllr Orr asking that these allegations be withdrawn, but he declined to do so.

“He did not take up the invitation and he left me with no option but to pursue the matter through the sheriff court, which I did and lodged a case of defamation. After an exchange of correspondence between myself and his solicitor, defamation was admitted.

“After two appearances at the sheriff court, where Cllr Orr was represented by counsel and a solicitor and where I represented myself, I received the following apology from Cllr Orr: ‘I accept that each and all these allegations and imputations were and remain entirely false and without foundation and ought never to have been made. I apologise for making them’.”

Cllr Cardownie added: “Differences between ourselves should be resolved within the City Chambers if we possibly can. The resort to social media to unjustifiably attempt to smear colleagues should be deprecated and we should treat each other with the respect we all deserve.”

He denounced blogs which “attempt to imply some councillors are not acting within the law”.

It is understood a four-figure financial sum was also paid as part of the settlement.

Cllr Orr, who was elected to the council in 2012 and is also standing down, did not attend yesterday’s meeting. Afterwards he said: “During my time in office I have always worked to uphold the highest standards of conduct and transparency in accordance with our code of conduct.

“However, clearly the language I used in this instance was inappropriate and I have apologised accordingly.”

ian.swanson@edinburghnews.com