Edinburgh council leader lodges formal complaint over backbench Labour critic

COUNCIL leader Adam McVey has lodged a formal complaint against a backbench Labour councillor over comments accusing him of failing to lobby SNP ministers over government funding for the city.

Thursday, 31st January 2019, 5:00 am
Council Leader Adam McVey. Pic: Ian Georgeson

Cllr McVey alleged Scott Arthur had broken the letter and the spirit of the coalition agreement between the SNP and Labour and made “factually inaccurate” claims.

It is understood Labour is now considering the complaint and whether any action should be taken.

The row comes after a parliamentary answer revealed Cllr McVey had not had any official meetings with Finance Secretary Derek Mackay over funding for the Capital during 2018.

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Cllr Scott Arthur. Pic: Lisa Ferguson

Cllr Arthur told the Evening News at the time: “Since the day he became council leader Adam McVey has been assuring the city that he’s been holding regular meetings with Derek MacKay to demand fair funding for our Capital. Now we find Edinburgh is facing the worst financial settlement in living memory and these meetings appear to have been a figment of his imagination.”

Cllr McVey defended himself, saying he met ministers informally, at party meetings and even at bus stops, and he always took the opportunity to talk about Edinburgh’s financial position.

The council is having to find £41 million of savings from its budget for next year when it had expected a figure of £28m. The Capital has the lowest funding per head of any council in Scotland.

Today Cllr McVey confirmed he had made a formal complaint to Labour about Cllr Scott.

He said: “It is based on his behaviour and comments on his blog and in the press that a meeting I reported to full council somehow didn’t happen, which is completely factually inaccurate.

“He has orchestrated these attacks on me and my SNP colleagues, which is totally against both the letter and spirit of our coalition agreement.

“The agreement sets out the standards expected of both sides and the commitments we have made to each other as political parties. I think Scott’s behaviour is a clear breach of that agreement.”

But Cllr Arthur hit back over the claims. He said: “The basis of Cllr McVey’s complaint appears to be that I broke the coalition agreement by embarrassing him.

“The reality is that his failure to formally meet with senior members of his own party to oppose the worst budget our capital has had since devolution is an embarrassment to Edinburgh and I had a duty to my constituents to expose it.

“I have repeatedly offered to meet him to discuss what he’s done to stand up for Edinburgh, but his only response has been to submit a complaint to distract from his complicity in these cuts. It’s time for Cllr McVey to get on with his day job.”