Tory councillor under fire for ‘appalling personal attack’ in Brexit debate

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A councillor has been blasted for an “appalling personal attack” on his former colleague after accusing her of misleading voters.

Independent Cllr Ashley Graczyk tabled a motion at full council, calling for public support to back at People’s Vote on Brexit. The Gorgie-Sighthill ward councillor quit the Conservatives in July to sit independently. The former Conservative councillor is now a Scottish indepedence supporter.

Cllr Callum Laidlaw and Cllr Ashley Graczyk

Cllr Callum Laidlaw and Cllr Ashley Graczyk

During the debate on Brexit, Cllr Graczyk said “we need to go back to the people” for a decision on the outcome of Brexit, which she labelled “the most important peacetime disaster of our lifetime”.

Conservative Cllr Callum Laidlaw laid into his former colleague – claiming she was “simply ignoring the primary wish of her constituents” by backing a People’s Vote.

READ MORE: Edinburgh Council adds support to People’s Vote campaign

He said: “Cllr Graczyk campaigned extensively in the Sighthill-Gorgie ward and persuaded many voters who hadn’t voted Conservative before to put a cross in the box.

“She quite literally wrapped herself in the union flag, she was the embodiment of Britannia, she knocked on doors looking like she was attending the last night of the proms.”

He added: “While the councillor may sit as an independent, it is clear in her pronoucement that independence is now her obsession. What she is not entitled to do is mislead the voters of her ward by standing on a platform as Scottish Conservative and Unionist party and putting herself forward as a committed unionist then jettisoning them and their views to woo a party whose politics and policies they so roundly rejected at the ballot box in 2017.

READ MORE: No-deal Brexit would wipe out trade deals with 70 countries

“If anyone deserves a second vote its the hundred of Conservative voters in Sighthill-Gorgie whose misplaced faith in Cllr Graczyk has left them voiceless, angry and unrepresented in this chamber.”

Senior SNP councillors jumped to the defence of Cllr Graczyk – with housing and economy convener Cllr Kate Campbell labelling the remarks “a pretty appalling personal attack on a councillor”.

Council leader Cllr Adam McVey added: “I don’t think the Conservatives would have won a seat in Gorgie had they not had a candidate who was making a very articulate offer to the electorate with a conscience.”

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