Labour anger at Christmas party chat on election eve

IN the run-up to tomorrow's election, all the parties have been out campaigning, speaking to voters and handing out leaflets.

Wednesday, 4th May 2016, 9:01 am
Updated Wednesday, 4th May 2016, 12:32 pm
Talk of Christmas parties has angered some in the Labour Party. Picture: Ian Rutherford
Talk of Christmas parties has angered some in the Labour Party. Picture: Ian Rutherford

But Edinburgh’s Labour councillors have had something else on their mind – organising their Christmas party.

Despite the imminence of polling day and Labour’s need to maximise its vote, the party’s elected members at the City Chambers have been exchanging e-mails to decide the best date for their festive celebrations.

Labour group secretary and City Centre councillor Karen Doran sent an e-mail to all Labour councillors in the Capital last Friday – six days before the election – offering three alternative days in December.

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One senior Labour figure said he and others were “flabbergasted” that such a discussion could be taking place so close to a crucial parliamentary election.

He said: “Just days before the Scottish Parliament elections, the Edinburgh council Labour group are consulting on which day in December they should hold their Christmas party.

“Every Labour councillor should be out campaigning for a Labour victory, not organising the Christmas party.

“I wouldn’t mention Rome burning and Nero fiddling, but it’s not a bad comparison.”

In her e-mail headed “Christmas Party”, Cllr Doran said: “I know it is ages away but we require to book the hall well in advance. Can I ask for your preference to the dates below. Time is getting tight and we have to book very soon.”

The dates suggested were Thursday, December 15, Saturday, December 17 or Friday, December 23.

Joan Griffiths, councillor for Craigentinny/Duddingston, replied on Monday: “My preference would be Saturday 17th.”

It is not clear which other councillors might also have responded.

Conservative councillor Jason Rust said: “We will know tomorrow if this is a case of turkeys voting for Christmas.”

Council leader and Labour councillor Andrew Burns said: “As group secretary, Karen has quite outrageously taken two seconds off the election campaign trail to type a two-line e-mail in order to meet room-booking deadlines for an internal event this coming Christmas.

“I’ll obviously now be calling for her instant public flogging for such a flagrant abuse of time.”