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EXCLUSIVE: Leading Aberdeen councillor suspended from party as police investigate sexual harassment complaint

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Aberdeen’s depute lord provost is being investigated by police over an allegation of sexual harassment.

Councillor Alan Donnelly was immediately suspended by the Conservatives after the party received what it described as a “serious” complaint.

Mr Donnelly is on the ruling Conservative-Labour administration within Aberdeen City Council – and last night, authority co-leader Douglas Lumsden said the suspension meant he would also not be carrying out any civic duties.

It is understood the alleged incident took place at a civic function in Holburn Street following a remembrance event last November.

Mr Donnelly, who represents Torry and Ferryhill, declined to comment last night.

A police spokeswoman said: “Police Scotland has been made aware of an allegation of this nature.

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“Inquiries are at an early stage.”

Last night, a Scottish Conservative party spokesman said: “On January 8, the party received a serious complaint about Councillor Alan Donnelly.

“We were also informed that a complaint had also been made to the police.

“As is normal in these circumstance, Councillor Donnelly was immediately suspended from the party.”

Mr Donnelly, a former merchant navy sailor and Aberdeen airport worker from England’s north-east coast has been embroiled in many rows during his lengthy tenure as a councillor.

His abrasive style has often led to clashes in the council chambers and there have been splits within the Tory group itself with a major split in 2010.

And last April, an embarrassing leak emerged showing another division between Mr Donnelly and now Aberdeen South MP Ross Thomson.

The Press and Journal obtained Mr Thomson’s report to party bosses on the suitability of depute provost Alan Donnelly to stand in last year’s council election.

Penned in August 2016 when Mr Thomson was Tory group leader at the council, he wrote that Mr Donnelly had behaved in ways that resulted in other local Tories “relinquishing or not renewing their party membership”.

Mr Donnelly was himself expelled from the local group in 2014 by former leader Fraser Forsyth but was later readmitted.

The report read: “Councillor Donnelly further continued to attract negative publicity; in fact he has stated that negative publicity is good as it gets your name in the paper.”

Talking about a Conservative party meeting in 2012, Mr Thomson wrote: “… as chairman of Aberdeen South Conservatives (he) launched into a prepared tirade … he even called an ex-association chairman a prostitute”.

But he ends his report by saying his colleague had been “better behaved” and that “the number of negative press stories has reduced”.

However, Mr Donnelly has proved relatively popular in his ward, topping the polls in the 2017 election in Torry and Ferryhill with 1,337 first preference votes.

His nearest rival was the SNP’s Christian Allard with 910.

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