Special meeting will call for council leader to step aside

Council leader Jim Logue
Council leader Jim Logue

The SNP Group at North Lanarkshire Council has formally requested a special meeting of the council to hear a motion calling for Councillor Jim 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.

In an audit report to councillors the council’s head of audit inspection Ken Adamson questioned why No Limits Leisure Ltd and ESCA UK Ltd were formed and raised concerns about overseas trips by Councillor Logue.

Councillors have only been shown a summary of the report, with a request from the SNP Group to the chief executive’s office to see the full document being denied.

The special meeting, which has to be held within two weeks, will also deal with motions to have the report released in full.

The SNP group had previously urged Councillor Logue to step aside voluntarily while the investigation was underway, but he vowed to carry on.

Councillor Logue said: “Any call for me to step aside is nonsensical and I remain focussed on leading a forward-thinking council providing great services to the people of North Lanarkshire.”

SNP depute leader Tom Johnston says this action is needed for the sake of the council’s reputation.

He said: “The SNP has not taken this decision lightly, but we made a promise to the people who elected us to fight for openness, transparency and accountability within this council.

“North Lanarkshire Council has developed a poor reputation over the years and Councillor Logue’s refusal to step aside is a further example of everything that is wrong in this area.

“I am asking all councillors to support the three items that will go before this special meeting. It is imperative that opposition councillors, and the public as a whole, have the opportunity to see the content of these audit reports.

“Councillors should also support our motion to remove Councillor Logue as leader in order for this council to save what is left of its reputation.”

Depute council leader Paul Kelly has described the complaint against Councillor Logue as a ‘smear’ to ‘undermine the work of the council’ and believes it was made by a disgruntled former colleague.

He said: “Since we were elected as the new leadership of the council in March 2016 we have been subjected to continual smearing and threatening behaviour.

“This was because we chose to take decisive action in changing the council, instigating a major investigation into allegations of corruption and challenging questionable practices that had been allowed.

“We are proud that we are the first council in Scotland to properly review our procurement procedures and to take decisive action.

Taking such a stand has led to us both being subjected to smears and threats often by those associated to previous councillors.

“This latest smear is yet another attempt to undermine the work of the council. However it will not stop us in our continual drive to improve services for the people of North Lanarkshire.”