Here are five times things got heated at Edinburgh City Council

There have been some heated exchanges at the council in recent years and strong words spoken between opposition councillors and the SNP-Labour administration.

By Ian Swanson
Thursday, 6th January 2022, 4:55 am
Updated Thursday, 6th January 2022, 6:25 am

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As Tory councillor Graham Hutchson says a "toxic" atmosphere is partly behind his decision to stand down at the elections in May, here are some of the flashpoints:

In February 2020, housing convener Kate Campbell accused Tory councillor Graham Hutchison of "casual, lazy, everyday sexism" after he speculated that she might "finally wield the knife" at council leader Adam McVey and steal his job. She claimed she had suffered continuous negative comments from opposition councillors due to her sex since taking on her convener role. But he hit back at her "faux outrage".

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Edinburgh City Chambers

In August 2020, as the council prepared to extend controversial Spaces for People measures for a further two months, council leader Adam McVey labelled Conservative views of scheme "regressive" in a Tweet. In debate the administration was accused of "not listening" to residents. In reply transport convener Lesley Macinnes said: "Today the Tories attempted to take a wrecking ball to the purpose behind the Spaces for People initiative, which is to keep people safe during the pandemic."

In October 2020, Lib Dem Kevin Lang called on transport convener Lesley Macinnes to consider her position over the "disastrous" handling of the row about plans to introduce Scotland's first Low Traffic Neighbourhood in East Craigs. Councillor Macinnes hit back, saying she was focused on delivering solution "not allowing myself to be distracted by Lib Dem posturing on issues like this which are far too important for everyone".

In January 2021, Tory Susan Webber challenged plans to make some of the Spaces for People schemes permanent despite previous assurances they were temporary. She said: "We have all been misled and the real motivations have now been exposed. The administration is using any tactic possible to get these made permanent. Why rush? Why the secrecy in keeping the papers behind closed doors and released at the last minute?" Transport convener Lesley Macinnes said she was "dismayed by the tone that has been struck". "We've gone from a detailed, professional conversation about the contents of a complex and difficult project, straight into political attack, and I don't think it serves us at all well as a city. I've noticed an increase in personalisation around this conversation."

And in September 2021, announcing his decision not to seek re-election in May, Toy councillor Scott Douglas said he found it "mind-numbingly irritating" trying to deal with the administration. He continued: "I've found it increasingly frustrating dealing with administration councillors who think they know better than the people and communities they are elected to represent. They just don't want to listen."

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