Thursday 14th September 2023,
North Edinburgh Community News

Local councillor refers himself to standards watchdog over political party event held in City Chambers

Local councillor, Cammy Day, has referred himself to the Standards Commission over a ‘rule-breaking’ Labour party event in the City Chambers last week. 

Cammy, who is also the Council leader, apologised after newly-selected Westminster candidates posted pictures online of the ‘thank-you’ event attended by at least four other administration councillors and local party activists held in the group’s offices last week.  

The event took place in the City Chambers

The since-deleted posts quickly sparked accusations it breached “strict rules against using taxpayer-funded council facilities for party political campaigning”. 

His apology came following pressure from Lib Dem group leader, Kevin Lang, and it is understood the minority administration risked losing the crucial support of his party to remain in power as a result of the blunder.

Councillor Lang welcomed the news but said it “should never have taken five days for him to respond and acknowledge the mistakes made”. 

Now five Labour councillors – almost half the ruling group – are set to face standards investigations. 

Cllr Laing said: “The body will need to investigate fully the event that took place and decide for itself whether there was a breach of the code of conduct.

Councillor Kevin Lang

“It is now important for this independent process to be allowed to run its course.

“The council as a whole will then need to consider the Commission’s decision and any sanction it chooses to impose.”

The Code prohibits use of council resources ‘without thinking about the implications or consequences, unlawfully,  for any party political or campaigning activities or matters relating to these or improperly’. 

Breaches can result in council members being censured, suspended and even barred from sitting. 

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The council leader remained silent until Councillor Lang demanded he answer ‘six key questions’ to determine ‘who organised the event, who was invited, why it was considered okay to use a council room for a political event, why the room then used to promote Labour parliamentary candidates via social media, and if any Labour councillor raised concerns or objections at any point’. 

Cllr Day said he understood it would be a “thank you/social event as opposed to a political campaigning event.”

He added: “The room should not have been used to promote candidates on social media. These posts have been deleted, and I have spoken to the candidates involved.

“I was unable to remain at the event, but I’m not aware of any direct concerns being raised.”

Cllr Day said the Labour Group will retrospectively pay for the use of the room.

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