17 June 2018
North East Labour MSP Lewis Macdonald has called on the party’s National Executive Committee to support Aberdeen Labour councillors in their leadership of Aberdeen City Council, delivering for the people and city of Aberdeen.
His call follows a failure of the Scottish Executive Committee, meeting in Glasgow yesterday, to endorse Aberdeen Labour’s partnership agreement with Conservative and Independent councillors to run Scotland’s third city for the next four years.
“Aberdeen Labour councillors have continued to provide strong and effective leadership of Aberdeen City Council since the local elections in May 2017, and they have agreed a bold and radical programme of change with their coalition partners that would be hard to match anywhere else in the absence of an outright Labour majority.
“The Aberdeen Labour councillors were suspended by the General Secretary of the Scottish Labour Party, because they entered into this coalition agreement without the endorsement of the Scottish Executive Committee.
"That has limited their ability to take part in Party meetings, either locally or at national meetings of Labour local councillors.
“It has been deeply disappointing that the SEC has failed over the last year to resolve this matter, to allow everyone concerned to get on with their jobs.
"Aberdeen Labour councillors have been asked on a number of occasions to provide evidence that they are implementing Labour Party policies, and they have done so.
"They have been asked to apologise for acting without SEC endorsement, and they have done so.
“There is no Scottish Labour policy position which prevents councillors or indeed MSPs from doing deals with any other party.
"If there had been, Aberdeen Labour councillors would have followed it.
"Given that there is no ban on doing deals with any other party, Aberdeen Labour councillors have used their local knowledge and judgement to reach the best outcome they can to deliver Labour policy commitments and protect the terms and conditions of council staff.
“The worst local administration Aberdeen has ever suffered was the coalition which ran the city council between 2007 and 2012.
"An administration dominated by the SNP took the council to the verge of bankruptcy, cut millions of pounds from local services, closed schools and threatened council workers with compulsory redundancies.
"To hand back control to the SNP, who won less than a third of the votes in last year’s election, would be the worst possible outcome for the people of Aberdeen.
“The SEC’s failure to recognise all of this is surprising and disappointing.
"It now falls to the National Executive Committee to make a final decision when their disputes panel considers this case at their meeting on 3rd July.
"I call on them today to make the right decision.
“Devolution within the party cannot be simply about transferring powers to Glasgow from London.
"It must be about Labour leaderships at every level respecting and trusting local Labour representatives to do the right thing for their local areas.
"In this case the SEC in Glasgow has failed to endorse the decisions of Labour in Aberdeen, and so it falls to the NEC to put things right.”
17 June 2018