Councillor who ‘stormed out’ of meeting could lose post

Cllr Lezley Cameron. Picture: Greg Macvean
Cllr Lezley Cameron. Picture: Greg Macvean
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A SENIOR councillor “stormed out” of a meeting with community representatives and developers after claiming they should not be discussing what had previously been a confidential item about a major housing project.

Now there is speculation that Labour’s Lezley Cameron, vice-convener of the housing and economy committee, could be removed from her post for her “embarrassing” behaviour.

She took exception to the Fountainbridge Sounding Board – a group which brings together local residents, councillors and developers – discussing the India Quay development of more than 400 homes at Fountainbridge.

The issue had been on the private “B” agenda at the council’s housing and economy committee because confidential information such as site values were being considered. The committee had agreed to drop previous proposals for commercial build-to-rent homes in favour of a council-led development of 40 per cent affordable rent and 60 per cent market homes for sale.

Cllr Cameron is said to have arrived late for the meeting, where a council officer was giving an update on the matter.

She is understood to have challenged why a private item was being discussed, but Green councillor Gavin Corbett, who was chairing the meeting, allowed the officer to continue.

One source said: “She stormed out of the room and some people thought she had left, but a bit later she came back, saying she had taken advice and there was no way this should be discussed.”

Cllr Corbett, however, allowed the meeting to continue.

Another source said: “It’s very common once a B agenda item has been discussed to say ‘This is what was decided’. There was no discussion of any of the confidential issues about land values or anything. It was perfectly reasonable for the community to be updated on what had been concluded.

“It would have been absurd to say ‘We’ve had a B agenda discussion but can’t tell you what was decided’.”

In a bid to meet Cllr Cameron’s objections, housing and economy convener Kate Campbell is understood to have suggested those at the meeting could treat information about what had been decided as “in confidence” for the moment.

The source said: “Kate made a constructive and conciliatory suggestion about how to go forward and did her best to try and smooth things over.

“Lezley left without saying anything else. It was a bit embarrassing, but the main person who was embarrassed was Lezley herself.

“It’s for the Labour group to decide whether she is best for that position. It’s not the first time she has behaved like this.”

In September last year, the Evening News reported how Cllr Cameron had clashed with the then housing and economy convener Gavin Barrie as the committee discussed whether the India Quay development should feature social housing rather than posh flats with a concierge.

She could be seen shaking her head and grimacing as Cllr Barrie gave his view, arguing for a switch from the private-rented flats to social housing, and she then challenged him on a point of order.

A Labour insider said there could be a move to replace Cllr Cameron when the council group holds its AGM within the next few weeks.

“It was clear there were tensions when Gavin Barrie was convener and it looks as if the relationship with the current convener is not working either.”

Cllr Cameron did not respond to requests for a comment.