SNP Group Leader, Cecil Meiklejohn has written to Labour Leader, Craig Martin, calling for action to be taken against the Convenor of Housing and Social Care Committee, Gerry Goldie after the Labour member repeatedly tried to force SNP Councillor into a position that would have been a breach of the Councillor’s Code of Conduct.
The issue arose during a debate on council housing when Cllr Chalmers asked the convenor if he would abide by the democratic decision of the Planning Committee. Goldie, the council’s longest serving member then turned on 21 year old Cllr Chalmers in an aggressive manner ignoring the advice being offered by the council lawyer who was frantically trying to prevent the maverick Labour member from further embarrassment.
However, Goldie persisted in his call for Cllr Chalmers who is a member of the Planning Committee to state how he would vote when the application comes back to committee.
When the highly experienced SNP Councillor, David Alexander intervened to point out that Goldie was asking Cllr Chalmers to breach the National Code of Conduct the SNP member was threatened with expulsion from the chambers as council officials continued to try to influence their committee convenor.
Coolest head in the chambers was on the youngest pair of shoulders as Colin Chalmers laughed off the attack and politely declined Gerry Goldie’s invitation to breach the National Code of Conduct setting an example the Labour member would do well to emulate.
However, that was not enough for watching SNP leader Cecil Meiklejohn who said,
“Councillor Goldie’s behaviour was a disgrace.
He was aggressive and confrontational towards SNP members for no reason other than blind hatred, a situation the SNP members of the committee coped with easily.
However, the attempts to have the least experienced member of the committee breach the National Code of Conduct showed that there was no depth Cllr Goldie will not sink to.
As leader of the council Craig Martin must accept responsibility for his colleague’s behaviour and take action to curb this member’s excesses.
It is one thing to debate in a robust manner, it is something else to seek to bully and intimidate to the extent that you deliberately push less experienced Councillors into a position where they could be in trouble with the Standards Commission.
As the official opposition the SNP have a responsibility to hold the Labour / Tory Administration to account, that is democracy and yet it is a concept Labour seem unable to accept.”
Cllr Chalmers added
“I was surprised by the level of aggression shown by Cllr Goldie even after the council’s legal advisors backed up my position.
However, if Labour’s longest serving Councillor feels he needs to adopt such underhand tactics with me then I will take that as a compliment although I will continue to rely on positive argument in preference to that I witnessed at this committee from the chair.”