As a councillor since 1986 I have never witnessed anything like the total shambles of the SNP/Independent/Green coalition on Midlothian Council.
At the council meeting on July 3, called to consider the resignation of council leader Lisa Beattie after five weeks in office, the depute council leader also resigned. They were replaced on a vote against Labour’s alternatives by Bob Constable and Owen Thompson respectively.
SNP Provost Joe Wallace abused his position to prevent Labour members from asking questions about these resignations, but was forced to allow us to make some comment when formally moving our nominees for leader and depute.
It was highlighted that, among other things, Cath Johnson was illegally put on to the Licensing Board by the SNP and had to be withdrawn due to her membership of the Dean Tavern Trust.
All this while SNP Councillor Andrew Coventry resigned from the Cabinet after four weeks because he cannot get time off to carry out his duties to constituents.
The SNP/Independent/Green coalition has also brought in a meetings cycle of six weeks instead of four, which coupled with an extended summer recess means that for an accumulative five year term of office there will be no formal meetings for a two year period.
So much for open and transparent government! Labour in Midlothian completely opposed this reduced cycle.
So we now have part-time councillors on a part-time council and who knows where the merry-go-round will take us as their inadequacies continue.
Rather than report properly on the council meeting, the Advertiser printed a sanitised ‘own take’ on events.
Comment or ‘own take’ is fine, but not to report factually on the council meeting is journalistic gerrymandering and certainly lets the SNP/Independent/Green coalition off lightly.
Report the facts. That is not only good journalism it is what the good citizens of Midlothian would expect.
Councillor Adam Montgomery
Chair, Midlothian Council Labour Group
l Editor’s note: The Advertiser reported these facts ‘properly’ in the previous week’s paper [July 5]. Although we went to press on the afternoon of the July 3 meeting, we pushed our deadline to the wire to bring our readers the most up-to-date news as it broke. Our follow-up analysis piece in last week’s paper [July 12] was a chance to reflect on what had been a tumultuous week for Midlothian. Far from being ‘journalistic gerrymandering’ we believe our coverage has been fair and balanced.
More letters in this week’s Advertiser - out now.