By a Newsnet reporter
The Herald newspaper has reported that infighting has broken out again amongst the senior ranks of the Labour administration running Glasgow City council.
Council leader Gordon Matheson has removed East End councillor George Redmond from his position as chair of Strathclyde Partnership for Transport (SPT) after Mr Redmond was reportedly accused of attempting to gather support for a leadership challenge against him.
Mr Redmond earns £20,000 a year from his work on the SPT board, on top of his salary as a councillor. Sources close to Mr Redmond have described his dismissal as being due to “vindictiveness and revenge”.
Mr Matheson was re-elected unopposed last month during the annual meeting of the Glasgow Labour group on the council. His sacking of Councillor Redmond is seen by critics as part of a revenge campaign by Mr Matheson and his supporters against party members who had sought to find a candidate to oppose him.
Speaking to the Herald, a source close to the council administration said:
“George Redmond’s been sacked for disloyalty. When he got the SPT job he was told it would require him to be supportive of the leader. Instead, he’s been briefing against him, trying to undermine him. Even the dogs in the street knew he was wanting a challenge to Gordon.”
Another told the newspaper:
“It looks a bit desperate, a month after being re-elected unopposed. It might not actually do Redmond that much harm as it looks like vindictiveness and revenge on Gordon’s part.”
Embattled council leader Gordon Matheson has been involved in a series of controversies since he replaced disgraced former leader Stephen Purcell, who resigned in murky circumstances amidst allegations of drug use, favouritism and inappropriate contacts with figures associated with organised crime.
The early period of Mr Matheson’s tenure was characterised by bitter in-fighting amongst the ruling Labour group as councillors were subjected to a re-selection process. Some councillors alleged there was a culture of bullying and intimidation within the city’s Labour group and complained that the re-selection process was designed to bolster the party’s ruling clique.
Towards the end of last year Mr Matheson was reported by police to the Procurator Fiscal after being caught participating in a sexual act in a car park in the city. The Fiscal’s office later decided there was insufficient evidence to bring chages against the council leader.
Earlier this year, Mr Matheson was accused of misconduct over botched plans to redevelop George Square in the centre of the city. The plan to redevelop the square was cancelled after a panel of judges voted against Mr Matheson’s preferred option. Mr Matheson’s abrupt cancellation of the plan left Glasgow’s council tax payers to foot a bill of £100,000. The matter is currently being investigated by police. Mr Matheson has denied any impropriety.