Edinburgh Labour rebels disciplined - but still say council should consult more over traffic measures

Two outspoken Labour councillors have been given written warnings after they defied the party whip over controversial Spaces for People measures.
Lezley Cameron says she strongly believes in consultationLezley Cameron says she strongly believes in consultation
Lezley Cameron says she strongly believes in consultation

Scott Arthur and Lezley Marion Cameron both abstained rather than vote against a Tory motion which proposed emergency powers should no longer be used "to force substantial changes on communities where local people have expressed significant opposition".

Their action at the full council in September was an embarrassment for the Labour group which, as part of the administration along with the SNP, supports the Spaces for People programme.

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The warnings follow an internal disciplinary procedure within the group carried out by Labour whip Ricky Henderson.

Scott Arthur says he rebelled more than any other councillorScott Arthur says he rebelled more than any other councillor
Scott Arthur says he rebelled more than any other councillor

But both Cllr Arthur and Cllr Cameron said they remained convinced there had to be better consultation and engagement with local communities over traffic measures.

Cllr Arthur, who represents Colinton/Fairmilehead, said: “I have a feeling that I have rebelled more than any of Edinburgh's other 62 councillors and have been whipped more than Ben Hur's chariot horse.“I am grateful for the way in which the most recent investigation has been undertaken. There was an acceptance that the flow of information leading up to the vote was not ideal and that I was committed to ensuring that residents in my ward have their voice heard on the Spaces for People scheme.“Audit Scotland recently criticised the council's consultation culture - ‘Community engagement is not embedded in the council’s day-to-day work’. It remains my view that the council needs to show a bit more humility around Spaces for People and engage with residents more constructively.”

Cllr Cameron, who represents Liberton/Gilmerton, said going against the whip was not something she did lightly.

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She also pointed to Audit Scotland’s Best Value report. “There are clear statements in that concerning the council’s ability to engage and consult with people and it’s something I feel very strongly about. Transport is something we all need and rely on and I think it behoves us to consult on things that do change people’s travel patterns and give them an opportunity to feed into those plans. And it’s important for us as elected members to reflect the views and concerns of the people we represent.”

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