Labour have been left reeling after two of their Livingston councillors were reported to the Lothian and Borders Police for alleged corruption.
Labour councillors Willie Dunn and Graeme Morrice were assessed against the Council’s Anti-Fraud and Corruption Policy, Council Chief Executive Alex Linkston then called in the Police.
Mr Linkston confirmed that he had reported the two councillors to Lothian and Borders Police for alleged offences under the Public Bodies Corrupt Practices Act.
It is understood that the two face further allegations relating to their involvement in ‘Arms Length Organisations’, the same type of organisations have been at the heart of Labour corruption claims in Glasgow City Council.
The revelations will cause severe embarrassment to Labour’s candidate for Livingston Graeme Morrice, himself a former councillor. Mr Morrice is seeking to replace ex Labour MP Jim Devine who is due to appear in court on charges of theft.
The complaint against the Labour councillors was made by Councillor Gordon Beurskens who was himself the target of what he called a ‘witch-hunt’ in December 2008. Mr Beurskens is an independent who was elected under The Action To Save St. John’s Hospital Party.
Councillor Beurskens said “These allegations pre-date those made against me by seven months. Although I did not lodge a formal complaint with the Chief Executive in May 2008, he was certainly aware of the allegations, and has confirmed this to me in writing.
Mr Beurskens added:
“Perhaps now that the Chief Executive has reported them, the Police will now act on a complaint they and the Crown have sat on for 8 months, for reasons best know to themselves. This witch-hunt should never have started, but now it has, I intend to take the fight to my accusers.
“The staggering abuse of process within this Council when under Labour control was disgraceful, and there are those who have sought to pillory my colleagues and I for scrutinising and exposing it. They have singularly failed, and there will be more to come.
“It is unfortunate if that causes some people problems, but we will not be diverted from securing a level playing field in the administration of West Lothian Council.”