Edinburgh council chief ‘must learn lessons’ after apologies

Adam McVey, picture: Ian Georgeson
Adam McVey, picture: Ian Georgeson
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COUNCIL leader Adam McVey could find himself ousted from his post if he does not “learn lessons” after having to issue two apologies in one day, an opposition councillor has predicted.

Liberal Democrat Kevin Lang said the apologies – for forgetting about a motion on tackling motorbike crime in Muirhouse and for inaccurate claims about Tory councillor John McLellan – had highlighted concerns about the way Cllr McVey behaved.

Cllr Lang said the council leader was “a decent person” but claimed other members had been “taken aback” at the attack he launched on Cllr McLellan at Thursday’s full council meeting.

Cllr McVey claimed Cllr McLellan was “incredibly conflicted” in proposing a motion about Russian news agency Sputnik when he was “in receipt of payment for articles from other news agencies”.

And he accused the Tory economy spokesman of using his position to get meetings with developers then writing about them in articles for which he was paid.

Cllr McLellan angrily said there was not a shred of evidence for the allegation. “I have never sought a meeting with a property developer,” he said. “I have absolutely no pecuniary interest or can gain any advantage by whatever Sputnik does or doesn’t do in this city.” He demanded an apology and Cllr McVey later issued one via Twitter.

Cllr Lang said: “Adam was forced to apologise for forgetting all about the motion on motorbike crime which he was responsible for pushing forward. Just hours later he had to apologise on Twitter for wholly inappropriate and probably legally actionable comments he made against another councillor. You could see SNP and Labour councillors cringe as he was speaking.

“Adam needs to understand he holds one of the most important public offices in Edinburgh. He is not the chair of some school debating society. This is not Edinburgh’s version of House of Cards.

“He is heading the administration that runs the capital city, and people expect a little bit more gravitas, a little bit more humility and a little bit more respect for the role he holds.”

This week economy convener Gavin Barrie was ousted from the role by fellow SNP members. Cllr Lang said: “I hope Thursday brought it home to Adam that too many mistakes are being made. He needs to learn lessons and be a little more circumspect. If he doesn’t it won’t just be in the economy and housing brief the SNP group is looking for change.”

Cllr McVey said he would repeat his apology to Cllr McLellan at the next full council meeting, “I will be withdrawing and apologising for my entire contribution in relation to his motion.

“When issues are brought to my attention of mistakes I have made or the administration has made, I’m happy to own up to that and apologise.

“That’s the kinds of leadership I have shown over the past nine months and will continue to show, hopefully with fewer mistakes.”