Calls for Labour Council leader to ‘consider his position’

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  By a Newsnet reporter

The SNP Group Leader of Glasgow City Council, Graeme Hendry has urged Labour Council Leader Gordon Matheson to consider his position following confirmation that Mr Matheson is under investigation from the Major Crimes Unit of the Scottish police.

Councillor Matheson is to be investigated over alleged misconduct during the £100,000 contest to redesign George Square.  He has been accused of trying to breach procurement law and coerce officers to do so.

Mr Matheson, who replaced disgraced former council leader Steven Purcell, is at the centre of allegations made by the Royal Incorporation of Architects of Scotland (RIAS) which claims the Labour councillor breached rules governing the contest to choose a design for the George Square revamp.

He is also alleged to have tried to coerce council officials into pushing for his own favoured design to be selected by the body.  A leaked document seen by Newsnet Scotland also suggests that confidential information relating to the contest may have been leaked to the media, against EU regulations.

Councillor Hendry said:

“Councillor Matheson has been accused of some very serious offences and it is only right and proper they are investigated by all the appropriate organisations including the Police. 

“It would be appropriate for Matheson to consider his position in the Council due to the great embarrassment he has caused the city, and the damage he has done to the Council’s relationship with the business community.

“It would seem those running Scottish Labour are the only people left in Scotland who don’t seem to think these accusations should be investigated.  Their failure to suspend or even investigate him stinks of rank hypocrisy and only heaps further unnecessary embarrassment on Glasgow whilst leaving many wondering what would it take for Labour to take action?

“The Glasgow SNP Group has submitted a motion to next full Council on the accusations. We will be moving this motion on May 16th as it is vital Glasgow learns from the George Square fiasco and ensures that never again is one Councillor allowed to waste so much money and do such enormous damage to the city’s reputation.

“Councillor Matheson’s behaviour during the judging process seems to have been highly inappropriate and the Council need to ensure procedures are in place to prevent this happening in the future whilst also asking Audit Scotland to fully review the resources wasted.”

Mr Matheson has already courted controversy and hit the headlines in December after being caught commiting a sex act with another man in a public car park.  The Labour councillor was forced to issue an apology and admitted to having an affair behind his partner’s back.

The SNP group at Glasgow Council have lodged a motion accusing the Labour leader of damaging the reputation of the local authority.  They have also demanded that Audit Scotland be invited to, “investigate whether councillors unduly influenced the procurement process in the case of the George Square redevelopment procurement process.”