The leader of Edinburgh City Council has made a public apology to an opposition councillor following “unduly personal” comments he made at a previous meeting.
Cllr Adam McVey used his leader’s report section of Thursday’s full council meeting to retract his comments about Conservative Cllr John McLellan. At March’s full council meeting, Cllr McVey claimed that Cllr McLellan was “incredibly conflicted” after he proposed a motion calling on the council to sever ties with the chamber of commerce due to its links with Russian news agency Sputnik – while he was “in receipt of payment for articles from other news agencies”.
The SNP leader also said Cllr McLellan was using his position to arrange meetings with developers then writing about them in newspaper articles for which he was paid.
Speaking at Thursday’s council meeting, Cllr McVey said: “At the last council meeting, I contributed to a motion by Cllr McLellan and I accept that my remarks were unduly personal as well as not as respectful as they should have been.
“I was wrong to imply Cllr McLellan was using his position for personal gain and I retract my contribution in its entirety.”
He added: “As leader of the council, I accept that I should be held to a higher standard and as an administration we should be held to a higher standard.
“Following that debate I personally apologised to Cllr McLellan. I’m more than happy to reiterate that today as a matter of formal record and Cllr McLellan was kind enough to accept my personal apology on the day of the last council meeting and I hope he will accept my public apology today.”
Cllr McLellan, an Evening News columnist, was given opportunity to accept the apology and said: “I wish to thank the council leader for fully retracting what he said at the previous meeting.
“I did previously accept his verbal apology and his apology by email and I’m happy to accept his apology today in the spirit in which I believe it’s fully intended.”
He added: “I also received an apology from Cllr [Eleanor] Bird who endorsed Cllr McVey’s remarks. I’m also very happy to accept that apology.”
The Conservative economy spokesman also made a clarification that he had in fact held two meetings with developers – acting as ward councillor regarding the closure of St Margaret’s House.
“I checked my diary and in fact I had procured two meetings with property developers – one was the company selling St Margaret’s House and the other was the company buying St Margaret’s House.
“I sought meetings with both of them in order to find out what could be done to help the current occupants of St Margaret’s, the Edinburgh Palette. I was behaving entirely within my duties as a ward councillor to help a major organisation in the area.
“I do hope that we can all learn from this episode in accepting both those apologies. I hope we can move on and draw a line under this whole affair.”