No let up in Cumbernauld newsletter row

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A Cumbernauld councillor claims that the council is trying to gag his newsletter while funding another publication which was given a forum to criticise him.

Scottish Nationalist-turned-independent Councillor Alan O’Brien is ready to hand out another no-hold-barred leaflet in his ward.

The latest edition has been put together several months after Westfield Community Council published a stinging attack on him.

The unexpected diatribe was placed within a booklet featuring tranquil local scenes, an inspiring message from a local pastor and helpful telephone numbers. This had explicitly claimed that that Councillor O’Brien was neglecting Westfield.

As we reported, the publication which was distributed to thousands of local homes, caused a major political row, amidst the councillor’s claims that the supposedly non-political organisation was a front for the Labour Party.

The councillor claims that council monies are enabling this - at the same time as his own self-funded publication is earning the censure of council bosses. He said: “Every time I distribute it there have been threats from North Lanarkshire Council

“Initially I’ve been threatened with legal action. This has been followed up by threats to report me to the Standards Commission and the withdrawal of the cooperation of council officers for my council work.

“I guess I should be grateful I haven’t been reported to the police again, as that’s what happened with my last election leaflet.

It speaks volumes that while my constituents’ money is used to fund spin doctors and council propaganda any dissenting voice is met with threats and intimidation.’’

The councillor also claims that his attempts to mount an investigation into the expenses of various local organisations have been blocked.

And he has emphasised that he will raise the matter in his newsletter regardless.

It should be stressed however that this newspaper has no evidence that the issues raised by the councillor have any substance.

When we contacted North Lanarkshire Council for comment, a spokesperson insisted that there were no discrepancies as the councillor had claimed.

He said “Councillor O’Brien has raised a number of questions in relation to these organisations during the past two years.

“The council has endeavoured to answer these fully and openly.”