Edinburgh council leader refuses to move out of his old office

Former council leader Adam McVey refused to move out of the leader’s office at the City Chambers for ten days after being ousted from the role following last month’s local elections.

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He was said to be demanding more space for his SNP group and insisting he would not leave the ninth-floor room which has long been used by the council leader until the matter was settled.

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It is understood the row reached a stalemate and council chief executive Andrew Kerr had to get involved before Councillor McVey agreed to move out and make way for new Labour council leader Cammy Day – previously Cllr McVey’s deputy in the SNP-Labour coalition – on Tuesday afternoon.

One insider said: “Robert Aldridge was elected Lord Provost on May 26 and his predecessor Frank Ross instantly left the Lord Provost’s office. Cammy Day was elected council leader the same day, but Adam was refusing to leave until what he deemed suitable alternative accommodation was made available. He thought they were going to be too crushed on the tenth floor so he was having a bit of a sit-in.

"It wasn’t resolved until Tuesday afternoon after Andrew Kerr got involved. It was looking a bit silly.”

Another source said: “People were starting to call him Adam McStay.”

Edinburgh’s SNP-Labour coalition lasted from 2017 until the May 5 elections and the numbers after the election would have allowed it to continue, but Labour decided it would not take part in any formal coalitions. The SNP then teamed up with the Greens and agreed a coalition deal, even though they would not have had an overall majority. But their plans were thwarted when Labour offered “non-political” roles to Lib Dem and Conservative councillors in return for their help in voting a minority Labour administration into power.

Councillor Adam McVey, Leader, City of Edinburgh Council appears before the Culture Tourism Europe and External Relations Committee to give evidence on the Transient Visitor Levy. 13 September 2018 . Pic - Andrew Cowan/Scottish Parliament

The outgoing council leader and his successor Cllr Day had enjoyed a close working relationship when they in coalition together but relations between the parties have been strained since Labour’s deal to seize power. Labour are now faced with striking deals with other parties in order to put any of its plans into action.

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Cllr McVey said the SNP had been ready to move immediately. “But rooms we were allocated had to be used for another group with accessibility needs that rightly came first. It took till yesterday for offices to be allocated allowing us to move.”

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