Two Edinburgh Labour councillors suspended after abstaining on vote which put their party into power
Two Labour councillors who refused to vote for the party to become Edinburgh's new administration have been suspended from the Labour group for eight weeks.
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Leith councillor Katrina Faccenda and Ross McKenzie, who represents Sighthill/Gorgie, both abstained in the vote at last month’s full council meeting that put their party into power. They were unhappy that as well as giving “non-political” posts like licensing board convener to the Lib Dems in return for their support on the day, the Labour leadership had also given some posts to Tory councillors for their backing.
Labour was elected as the new minority administration despite having just 13 of the city’s 63 councillors.
Council leader and leader of the Labour group Cammy Day said: “It's disappointing the two members chose to break the group whip which is how we're all elected and abide by democratic decisions. The internal process has been finalised and the group's decision is to suspend them for eight weeks with immediate effect.”
The suspension means Cllrs Faccenda and McKenzie will not be allowed to attend Labour group meetings for the next two months, nor have access to Labour group activities. They will also have to move offices at the City Chambers. But they will be expected to support the Labour group position on issues during their suspension.
In a joint statement, the two suspended councillors said: "We respect the outcome of the disciplinary process which has been conducted in good faith. But collective responsibility requires internal democracy and accountability. We will continue to fight for a Labour Party that respects the views of its members and affiliates. It's now up to those in leadership positions to show how this Labour minority administration can make a positive difference."