Leader won’t resign over ‘secret’ firms

Jim Logue, right, with depute Paul Kelly, says he has done nothing wrong.
Jim Logue, right, with depute Paul Kelly, says he has done nothing wrong.

North Lanarkshire Council leader Jim Logue has dismissed demands for him to quit over company directorships he didn’t declare.

Critics say they’re in the dark about the activities of the firms set up by North Lanarkshire Leisure, the body which operates sports facilities on behalf of the council.

Councillor Logue was convener of the NL Leisure board until taking up his post as council leader in March.

He insisted neither ECSA Limited nor No Limits Leisure “invested a penny or spent a penny” and there was no need for him to declare his directorships in a register of interests.

The call to resign came from Councillor Sam Love who quit the council’s ruling Labour group after Councillor Logue became leader. He said there had been a breach of the councillors’ code of conduct.

Councillor Logue branded the criticism as an “outrageous rant” from the man who lost his post as housing convener in a reshuffle.

However, there is also concern within the Labour group.

One councillor said: “Any involvement in a company should be declared. I’m sure that would have been the advice of council legal officers.”

Councillor Logue said he had declared his interest in NL Leisure and there was no need to do so in respect of subsidiary companies.

He said: “These companies were set up to give operational flexibility. NL Leisure was at one time considering providing services to other, smaller councils and had to establish a separate company to do this.

“ECSA was set up when North Lanarkshire was European City of Sport in order to get grants and sponsorship. Neither company invested or spent a penny.”

Councillor Logue denied setting up the companies without the council’s knowledge. However, he produced correspondence involving the chief executive and head of legal services which showed they were aware of a proposal by NL Leisure to expand activities. He said: “To suggest there was a culture of secrecy is nonsense.”

Councillor Logue said plans to supply services to East Dunbartonshire eventually fell through.