Tories call for taxi claims councillor to be sacked as Edinburgh's finance convener
TORIES have officially called for Labour councillor Lezley Marion Cameron to be removed from her post as vice-convener of finance after she claimed public money for taxis used on private journeys.
Last week the Evening News revealed that Cllr Cameron, who represents Liberton/Gilmerton, had claimed £1450 for taxis just a day after she told her own officials it was imperative to “be watching every penny spent wisely”.
Her claims - which included trips to the pub, the cinema and to a Labour party political meeting - were made despite the fact she has a bus pass worth £665, paid for by the public and a free parking space in the city centre.
But in a letter to Labour group leader Cammy Day, Tory councillor Sue Webber cited Cllr Cameron’s comments about watching every penny and said: “These extremely valid comments are entirely inconsistent with her own careless actions regarding her misuse of taxpayers’ money.”
Cllr Webber continued: “With this in mind, I call you on as leader of the Labour group and acting leader of the council to replace Councillor Lezley Marion Cameron as vice-convener of finance and resources.
“This is the only action you can take to restore public confidence in the work of that committee and protect the council from further reputational damage.”
And Cllr Webber claimed there was little room for mistakes. She said: “If you’re in the pub it’s easy to phone up a taxi - you don’t have to phone up a taxi and quote the reference number for the council account. To me there is no excuse for it at all.”
And Tory group leader Iain Whyte gave his support to the call.
“If you cannot work the system properly so you pay back private taxi fares then you shouldn’t really be in charge of running the council’s budget.
“Given the comments she had made recently about the council having to watch every penny, this puts her in a very difficult position and it seems to be hypocritical for her to continue in the role of vice-convener of finance. It’s time for her to step aside and let someone else take on that role.”
Cllr Day said he had had a meeting with Cllr Cameron yesterday. “I made it clear taxis should only be used for essential business in line with council policy. She accepted there were a couple that were wrong and she will ensure any taxis taken for private use will be repaid.
“This relates to over 12 months ago when she was not in her current role. I think she is doing a good job as vice-convener of finance and will concentrate all her efforts into it.
“There is also a bit of a delay in the internal process of alerting councillors ‘Here’s your taxi use for the past few months, mark up any that were for private use and we’ll deduct it from your salary.”
Cllr Cameron did not return calls asking for her to comment.