Council leader gets vote of confidence after calls to stand down

Council Leader Craig Martin
Council Leader Craig Martin

The boss of Falkirk Council found himself under attack on Wednesday as opposition members called for him to stand down.

A special meeting of the full council was called by SNP group members which saw council leader Craig Martin, who has held the post for the last six years, and his colleagues forced to defend his position as head of the administration.

A motion put forward by the SNP Councillor Tom Coleman stated: “There is increasing concern with regard to this council’s management of public funds – in particular recent financial decisions that have caused damage to the council’s reputation.

“As a result there is a lack of confidence in the current leadership of the council – therefore we now call on the leader of the administration to accept responsibility and to stand down from his position.”

Councillor Coleman said the aborted new council headquarters, which was branded a vanity project, was just one example of the administration’s lack of leadership.

He said: “This has seen £1 million go down the drain without much to show for it. It was a reckless, eccentric decision lacking in any rational judgement. We would prefer the administration produce a more confident and energetic leadership from within.”

Baillie Joan Paterson put forward an amendment to the motion, confirming the administration’s support for the leader and stating any damage to the council’s reputation had been caused by the opposition.

The SNP group was accused of stooping to “gutter” level with their motion.

Councillor Gerry Goldie said: “If Craig Martin is guilty of anything it is of allowing free debate. I have been here before. It’s not clever – it’s politics of a bad nature.”

Conservative Councillor Malcolm Nicol said: “At the moment I can think of no finer person than Craig Martin to lead this council in these difficult times.”

The council voted 17 to 12 in favour of the amendment, with no administration members voting against their leader.