Four quit party after Logue axe

Four Labour councillors have quit the party after failing to get senior positions under North Lanarkshire Council's new leader.

Tuesday, 8th March 2016, 3:38 pm
Updated Tuesday, 8th March 2016, 3:43 pm
Helen McKenna chaired the environmental services committee.

They include Motherwell North members Helen McKenna and Peter Nolan. Former council depute leader Jim Smith (Coatbridge West) and Wishaw councillor Sam Love, the convener of housing, have also resigned.

The four went on the day Jim Logue was confirmed as the new council leader, succeeding Jim McCabe who had been in charge for 18 years.

Councillor Logue expressed his disappointment but insisted he has chosen “the best people for the roles”.

Councillor McKenna was the high profile convener of the council’s environmental services committee. She fronted the drive to increase household recycling.

Her job has gone to her depute, Michael McPake.

Clearly angry at the decision to oust her, Councillor McKenna said: “Jim Logue couldn’t give me a reason for it. He said I was doing a fantastic job but he wanted new people in.

“I think he wants people who’ll say ‘Yes sir, no sir, three bags full sir’ and I’m not that type.”

Councillor McKenna said it was ironic she wrote to tell Scottish Labour leader Kezie Dugdale she is quitting the party on International Women’s Day. She will continue as an independent councillor.

Councillor Peter Nolan, who has lost his job to Nicky Shevlin, accused the new leadership of “hounding him out”. He said no reason had been given for removing him and he felt “humiliated”.

Councillor Nolan added he would be uncomfortable staying in the council’s Labour group after this so he too will continue as an independent.

Councillor Logue said: “I was unanimously supported by my colleagues to be the new council leader and I am delighted to have been able to bring together a new team of talented people, including councillors with long experience and councillors who will bring new and fresh ideas to services.

“While I am disappointed to hear of the resignation of any member, it is my responsibility to select the best people for the roles and that is what I have done.

“Every new leader at any level will reshuffle their team. This is a new beginning for North Lanarkshire Council.”