MP and MSPs urge Richard Leonard to suspend Falkirk Labour councillors

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Falkirk’s SNP Holyrood and Westminster politicians have waded into the row over the alleged Labour-Tory deal to wrest control of the council’s executive from the SNP.

The four SNP men - Falkirk West MP John McNally, East Falkirk MP Martyn Day, East Falkirk MSP Angus MacDonald and Falkirk West MSP Michael Matheson - have all savaged Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard for what they see as failing to take action against “rogue councillors”.

As reported in the Falkirk Herald this week a controversial motion put forward by the Tory group and Provost Billy Buchanan was passed by 14 votes to 13.

The executive previously had eight SNP members, two Labour, one Conservative and one Independent, who is aligned with the SNP administration, but now has five SNP members, four from Labour and three Conservatives.

The move was greeted with fury by the SNP group, with council leader Cecil Meiklejohn claiming the vote meant there would be “a likely return to a Tory/Labour coalition leading the council”.

Now John McNally MP, urging Richard Leonard to “take action” against Labour councillors, said: “On Thursday afternoon the Labour Party, Tories and Billy Buchanan demonstrated that they have done a deal behind closed doors and formed a formal coalition.

“They joined forces and voted through the change to the Falkirk Council Executive cabinet and then proceeded to vote Dennis Goldie in as Convenor.

“Falkirk Council will now be the only council in Scotland to have such a structure.

“This is a power grab, one without any legitimacy.

“Labour should suspend these councillors for making a pact with the Tories and turning their backs on Falkirk constituents”.

Martyn Day MP and Angus MacDonald MSP both cited the action taken by former Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale to suspend Aberdeen councillors caught up in a similar row.

Mr Day said that earlier this week the suspended Aberdeen councillors “sent a submission to Labour’s executive committee begging to be readmitted to the party.

Michael Matheson MSP said: “Given the silence of Richard Leonard we can only presume he approves of the labour/Tory partnership.”

However before the vote Conservative group leader Malcolm Nicol said: “No one party got a majority at Falkirk Council at the last election and some people need a reminder of that.

“The SNP only got 40 per cent of the seats in the full council, yet it holds 75 per cent of the seats on the executive.”

Labour group leader Dennis Goldie vowed to support any move that got more Labour representation on the executive.