Depute leader describes special council meeting as ‘pointless’

Councillor Paul Kelly
Councillor Paul Kelly

Holding a special meeting to call for North Lanarkshire Council leader Jim Logue to step aside has been described as ‘pointless’.

However, Labour has welcomed the opportunity to discuss the ‘smear’ against leader Jim Logue and hopes to use the time to highlight other matters.

Last week the SNP Group formally requested the special meeting to hear a motion calling for Councillor Logue to step aside as leader until a police investigation has been completed.

Police are currently looking into a complaint against Councillor Jim Logue which follows criticism that he held undisclosed directorships of companies set up by North Lanarkshire Leisure while he was chairman.

His depute Paul Kelly insisted the complaint was made by a ‘bitter’ former Labour colleague and accused the SNP of jumping on the bandwagon.

He was particularly angry the opposition group called into question the integrity of council chief executive Paul Jukes after he refused to allow councillors to see the full audit report which let to the complaint against Councillor Logue.

Councillor Kelly said: “We absolutely welcome the opportunity to talk about the smear campaign against Jim Logue.

“Jim has spent his political life fighting the type of practices he is now being falsely accused of being involved in.

“As much as 30 years ago he was exposing those in his own party in Monklands and he instigated the investigation into malpractice in procurement last year.

“No other council leader would risk the challenges of forcing an investigation into anonymous allegations and, as a result, procurement practice has changed completely.

“The truth is that this is a smear instigated by a bitter former Labour councillor and the bandwagon has been jumped on by the SNP.

“What’s even worse is that the SNP have gone as far as to question the unimpeachable integrity of the council chief executive in their desperation to score points against a Labour leader. That is utterly pathetic.

“Jim is confident that the police will find no case against him, but understands that they have to be allowed to look into the complaint, no matter how spurious it is.

“In the meantime we are focussed on delivering great services in the face of outrageous budget cuts from the Scottish Government. He will not be stepping aside.

“Given that we will have to sit through a pointless special council meeting, we will be seeking to use the meeting as an opportunity to discuss something actually important to the people of North Lanarkshire.

“We will be calling on all councillors to support a demand to the Scottish Government that councils be treated fairly when it comes to budget allocations, so that our communities can get the services they need and deserve.”

It is understood the meeting is due to take place at the start of next week.