Steve Cardownie sues councillor over online posts

Deputy Lord Provost Steve Cardownie.  Picture: TSPL
Deputy Lord Provost Steve Cardownie. Picture: TSPL

DEPUTY Lord Provost Steve Cardownie is suing an outspoken ex-SNP councillor for £100,000, the Evening News can reveal.

This is the second writ served on Jim Orr in just over a month following several allegations published online.

Councillor Jim Orr.

Councillor Jim Orr.

He is already facing a separate £50,000 defamation claim from Tron Kirk leaseholder David Coutts following criticisms of the way the venue was being run.

Now Cllr Cardownie has revealed that he too will seek damages for comments made by the Independent politician on his blog.

Cllr Cardownie said: “Upon taking legal advice, I am restricted in what I can say about this matter. I did write to Jim Orr proposing a course of action [a public apology] that would have obviated the need to take matters further.

“Cllr Orr did not respond to the said proposal and therefore I am left with no action but to seek redress though legal channels.

“To this end, a writ has been served on my behalf by my legal adviser upon Cllr Orr suing him for defamation.”

Cllr Cardownie declined to reveal the sum he was seeking, but it is understood to be around £100,000.

Mr Coutts, who is fronting a campaign to oust Cllr Orr from his Southside-Newington seat, decided to launch his own legal action at the start of last month.

Both Mr Coutts and Cllr Cardownie said they would have dropped any legal action if Cllr Orr made a public apology.

Cllr Orr, who quit the SNP in 2014 following a series of internal spats, confirmed he would be defending both cases.

He previously said that his decision to remove the blog posts had nothing to do with the threat of legal action. He insisted it was prompted after learning of Cllr Cardownie’s decision to stand down from the city council after 30 years.

Speaking last month, Cllr Orr claimed he had moved to limit any reputational damage to the SNP as he seeks to re-join ahead of the next council elections.

Cllr Cardownie, 63, announced last month that he would not stand for re-election in May.

Born and bred in Leith, he was first elected as Labour councillor for Forth in 1988.

He held a number of positions within the party, including group secretary and whip, and went on to serve as recreation convener, festival and events champion and Deputy Lord Provost.

In October 2005, he resigned from Labour and joined the SNP, complaining Labour had “lurched to the right” under Tony Blair and arguing the city should invest in improvements to bus services rather than reviving trams. He became the SNP’s only councillor at the time, but his defection deprived Labour of its majority.

john.connell@jpress.co.uk