Edinburgh SNP-Labour coalition's scorn for opposition parties sees them make yet another blunder – John McLellan

It’s not often Edinburgh’s administration councillors hang the officers out to dry, but an exception has been made with the Brunstane Road fiasco when two Labour councillors who had previously expressed support for its closure were allowed to vote on a regulated “quasi-judicial” matter.

Thursday, 9th December 2021, 12:30 pm
Conservative group leader Iain Whyte had raised the problem of two councillors' conflict of interest over a council vote on the closure of Brunstane Road
Conservative group leader Iain Whyte had raised the problem of two councillors' conflict of interest over a council vote on the closure of Brunstane Road

When the conflict of interest was raised by Conservative leader Iain Whyte before the transport committee debate early last month, convener Lesley Macinnes answered that there was no problem because the councillors had declared an interest and then put officers on the spot to confirm.

The senior officer present actually agreed it was indeed a quasi-judicial matter but said it didn’t matter because the committee had already approved the scheme and the outcome was not in doubt.

However, it wasn’t that simple; the two councillors shouldn’t have taken part, but it left the whole scheme open to legal challenge and the decision had to be re-run, wasting officer time and public money.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Read More

Read More
Edinburgh councillors re-run vote on controversial road closure after legal advi...

The blame, according to Cllr Macinnes, lay entirely with the officers. “The advice that was forthcoming was not appropriate, it wasn’t correct. But when that emerged immediately after the meeting I took immediate action to solve this problem.”

Well three cheers for her. But far from being what she called “a desperate and slightly embittered attempt to pour scorn on the administration yet again”, this was more an example of an administration being high-handed with proper legal process led by a convener whose scorn for the opposition repeatedly leads to blunders. And she can’t blame the officers for that.

John McLellan is a Conservative councillor for Craigentinny/Duddingston

A message from the Editor:

Thank you for reading this article. We're more reliant on your support than ever as the shift in consumer habits brought about by coronavirus impacts our advertisers.

If you haven't already, please consider supporting our trusted, fact-checked journalism by taking out a digital subscription.