‘Dismayed’ Edinburgh councillor reveals reason for quitting SNP

Council Leader 'Adam McVey has evoked "dismay" from ousted economy chief Gavin Barrie. Picture: Ian Georgeson
Council Leader 'Adam McVey has evoked "dismay" from ousted economy chief Gavin Barrie. Picture: Ian Georgeson
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OUSTED housing and economy chief Gavin Barrie has lifted the lid on his resignation and his “total dismay” in SNP leader Adam McVey.

The Evening News reported earlier this week how the former firefighter quit the party, six weeks after losing his convenorship at the group’s annual general meeting.

Cllr Barrie said he went to see Cllr McVey after being told of a challenge to his role just 30 minutes before the meeting, only to be told by the leader he knew of the contest for three weeks.

Cllr McVey denied that version of events and said he was confident rules had been followed at the March summit.

“I’m entirely disappointed that he didn’t tell me this challenge was in the offing,” Cllr Barrie said. “I’m not saying I could’ve made it not happen or definitely would’ve won it, but I would’ve had the chance to speak to colleagues and put my point of view across. I’m totally dismayed that people think just because they can replace someone within the rules, that’s OK just to go ahead and do it. This is the leading political group in the capital city of Scotland. These things really matter.”

Cllr Barrie said it took his challenger Cllr Kate Campbell herself to tell him of her challenge.

He immediately went to see Cllr McVey and was “totally flabbergasted” to be told he already knew, but he still had the leader’s support.

“His words to me were that he’d been trying to persuade her not to for three weeks,” Cllr Barrie added.

Once tipped as a future leader himself, Cllr Barrie said he was “at a loss” as to why Cllr McVey failed to give him a heads-up. And he hinted at wider discontent within the SNP camp with others “unhappy with how things worked out” when senior positions were filled.

Asked whether some councillors were promised posts that never materialised, Cllr Barrie said: “I’m aware of some of these rumours, but I wasn’t in the room when promises were made, so I’m reluctant to talk about it.”

And he defended his own record in only filling vacant convenor roles except on one occasion at the “behest” of the leader.

Cllr Barrie added: “I’ll let others decide whether what he [McVey] did or didn’t do was the right thing. I’ll keep to myself my personal take.

“I’ve had many messages of support from all different communities and had absolutely no negative comment from anybody.”

Cllr Barrie’s resignation leaves the Tories as the largest group on the council, with 18 seats. The SNP remain in power with the support of Labour.

When asked of Cllr Barrie’s claims, Cllr McVey said: “That’s not my recollection, but I’m not going into specifics of the AGM process because it’s an internal process for the SNP.

Cllr McVey said democratic rules around internal challenges were followed and stressed confidence in his team now assembled.

“I’m disappointed with Cllr Barrie’s response to the AGM and his resignation,” he said.