Labour councillor facing vote of no confidence after Salmond ban threat

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  By a Newsnet reporter
 
A Labour councillor who has threatened to ban First Minister Alex Salmond from setting foot on council property is facing a vote of no confidence.
 
The SNP council group on Aberdeen City Council will tomorrow (Wednesday) table a motion of no-confidence in Finance Convener Willie Young after a day of chaos in the Aberdeen administration.

The Labour councillor caused controversy on Monday by claiming the First Minister was a bully and that he deserved to be banned.

“Mr Salmond is a bully, the only way to deal with a bully is to take this kind of action.” He told BBC Scotland.

“It is time to stand up to Mr Salmond and his ministers and let him know that he is not welcome in this city.  Our relationship with the Scottish Government has reached an all-time low and all we are saying to Mr Salmond and his ministers is that Aberdeen doesn’t want you here.” he added.

However the within 24 hours the Labour group was appearing increasingly isolated with reports that two of its Tory coalition partners and one independent were refusing to back the ban call.

Council Deputy Leader Marie Boulton signalled that tolerance in the administration for Mr Young’s threat to ban Scottish Government Ministers from council buildings had run out, stating that his outbursts had been a “slip of the tongue”.

However, it later emerged that the Labour group was preparing to go ahead with the plan despite opposition from the Council Deputy Leader.

According to the Aberdeen Evening Times, the Labour councillor said any attempts by the Scottish Government to arrange to visit council owned property on Government business would be blocked.

He said: “What we’re trying to do is formalise the situation.”

The actions of Mr Young, who is a member of Johann Lamont’s devolution commission, have already led to Aberdeen Donside MSP Mark McDonald writing to the leaders of Labour and the Tories calling on them to bring their Aberdeen councillors into line over the episode.

The letters to Johann Lamont and Ruth Davidson make clear that any such ban would be “anti-democratic” and calls on them to “put an end to this childish behaviour”.

A poll being run by Aberdeen’s Evening Express currently shows that over 90% of respondents are opposed to the actions of the Labour councillor.

With members of the administration coalition opposing each other’s stance and the Labour councillor having personally voted recently to block over £7 million of additional funds for Aberdeen, the SNP group on the council will tomorrow lodge a motion of no confidence in the Finance Convener.

Commenting, SNP Group leader councillor Callum McCaig said:

“Yesterday it seemed as if the situation in Aberdeen could not get any more absurd, but today the administration is in utter chaos thanks to Willie Young.

“The conflicting statements from administration councillors show that they are fundamentally at odds with each other and all because of Willie Young’s ridiculous threats.

“As a member of Johann Lamont’s devolution commission, Willie Young’s actions will be a huge embarrassment to the Labour leadership – just as he has been a repeated embarrassment to the council.

“People in Aberdeen are rightly fed up of this city’s name being dragged through the mud to satisfy Willie Young’s ego – but more importantly they are furious that he has opposed more funding for the city.

“Willie Young personally voted to deny Aberdeen more than £7 million of additional funding, and could scarcely be doing more to undermine the running of this city if he tried.

“Enough is enough. We have no confidence in Willie Young’s ability to continue playing such a key role in the administration of Aberdeen, and the time has come for him to go before he does even more damage to this city.”