Edinburgh Council's vice finance chief at centre of taxi expenses scandal blasted for 'flippant' cab tweet

The city council’s deputy finance chief at the centre of a black cab expenses row has been blasted for retweeting an expletive-riddled picture labelled ‘choose a black taxi’.

Tuesday, 8th October 2019, 6:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 8th October 2019, 11:57 am
Cllr Lezley Marion Cameron retweeted the pro-taxi image

Labour Cllr Lezley Marion Cameron has faced calls to quit as the city council’s vice convener of finance and resources after tallying up almost £1,500 in two years for taxi fares including two trips to the cinema, a night out to the pub and a political Labour meeting. She also has a free bus pass worth £665 and a free parking space in the city centre.

The councillor, who represents the Liberton/Gilmerton ward in the south of the city, has been met with further criticism from Conservatives after retweeting a picture from an account called ‘Edinburgh Cabbie’, a mocked up Trainspotting poster – a tongue-in-cheek plea for people to choose black cabs over private hire vehicles. In Trainspotting style, the poster also includes expletives – as well as claims it is safer to use cabs than private hire companies such as Uber.

Conservative Cllr Susan Webber, who initially asked questions about councillors’ taxi use, has hit out at Cllr Cameron for the “flippant” support of the image.

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Edinburgh Council's vice finance chief claimed £1,500 for taxis including round trip to the pub and cinema

“It just indicates that she thinks that this behaviour is okay. The flippant nature of this is actually quite insulting. She doesn’t seem to really believe that there’s anything wrong with what she’s done.”

Cllr Webber has also formally written to Labour group leader, Cllr Cammy Day, asking for him to bin his party’s finance and resources lead following a public outcry. But the Tory councillor hasn’t even received an acknowledgement from Cllr Day over the letter.

She added: “It’s complete and utter disregard – it’s discourteous and disrespectful. I’m not particularly happy.

“They have got no-one else to put in the finance and resources position. Cllr Arthur regularly speaks out against the administration’s policies and Cllr Munro is always banging on against the Scottish Government. Essentially, they just want it all to blow over and pretend it isn’t an issue.”

Cllr Cameron and Cllr Day could not be reached for comment on both the Tweet and Cllr Webber’s letter.

“I have also taken a taxi when, as has occurred more often than I can recall, I am about leave home to travel by bus to City Chambers or elsewhere and I have had telephone calls from constituents who are such in a state of distress because they are being made homeless, or dealing with something similarly challenging and distressing.

“I haven’t worked out what my average weekly taxi usage is, but I would anticipate it to be circa one taxi per week or fewer. Likewise I haven’t worked out the costs that I have incurred from my own monies on fuel, car parking etc in the undertaking of my council duties, none of which I have sought any reimbursement.”