Cumbernauld councillor in bullying row is in the clear

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A councillor who was accused of inappropriate behaviour while conducting an appeal hearing at Motherwell Civic Centre has been cleared of any wrongdoing by a national watchdog.

The Commissioner for Ethical Standards in Public Life began its investigation against Councillor Stephen Grant in January.

Veteran Labour councillor Grant had been accused by the GMB Union of being aggressive to a vulnerable former councillor employer and refusing to let him go to the toilet.

The Kildrum man was cleared in an internal investigation at Civic Centre, after former council leader Jim McCabe was tasked with leading an enquiry.

Now an external investigation has done likewise, after investigators travelled from Edinburgh to Civic Centre interviewed those who had been present at the hearing in December.

This was in addition to interviewing the victim and GMB official James Smith.

A commission spokesperson said: “I can confirm that we have concluded our investigation and that there has been no breach.”

The commission would not comment further but a fully report on the enquiry can be accessed on the Decisions section of its website.

Councillor Grant said: “Obviously this was a very stressful time but I was pretty confident of the outcome.

“It was obviously a pretty serious situation because a guy was losing his job but am not a bully and the report backed me up on that.

“So I’m delighted.”

The council has refused to comment on the outcome of the commission’s report but the GMB representative involved, James Smith said he did not have much faith in the document.

He said: “I think the whole process has been a bit of a farce and I can’t say I am surprised about the outcome.’’

Although the former employee is unhappy with the result, he cannot take any further action – because the commission does not operate an appeals procedure.