Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Claim emails show council co-leader Laing ‘totally out the loop’ as calls for licensing convener Boulton to go continue

Councillor Jenny Laing
Councillor Jenny Laing

Council co-leader Jenny Laing has denied being “totally out the loop” on decisions taken as Aberdeen was on the cusp of its damaging local lockdown.

The Aberdeen Labour leader was targeted by opponents last night after emails showed she had misinformed a constituent about the licensing process.

Before First Minister Nicola Sturgeon enforced the closure of all city bars, cafes and restaurants for three weeks, numerous beer tents were erected to allow more space for customers.

And yesterday licensing convener Marie Boulton faced calls to quit as council officers confirmed she had “truncated” an application for a 280-person marquee just off Union Street.

Council licensing manager Sandy Munro said the convener had rushed through The Draft Project By Soul on July 31 – after only three of the expected seven days of the application being listed for public comment, prompting calls for an investigation into the allegations.

Calls for Aberdeen licensing boss to quit over claims she cut corners to approve pop-up pub

The Draft Project opened on August 1, becoming one of 28 Aberdeen pubs linked to the coronavirus outbreak which forced the imposition of local restrictions that are only being lifted completely this morning.

In an email seen by The P&J, dated nearly two weeks later, Mrs Laing told one of her Midstocket And Rosemount constituents: “Some other local authorities used fast-track, particularly at the beginning, to get licensed premises reopened but Councillor Boulton refused to do that so the licensing standards officer and police could scrutinise the applications and object if needed.”

SNP group leader Alex Nicoll told The P&J the revelations were “utterly devastating to the credibility of the council and licensing board”.

He said: “Councillor Laing is the co-leader, yet she appears to be totally out the loop on one of the issues central to this city’s lockdown.

“We now know that, contrary to what Councillor Laing said, an application was fast-tracked, so the administration need to come clean on exactly what has happened here.

“We need full transparency.

“Councillor Boulton has shown a complete lack of judgement during what is the worst crisis in Aberdeen’s licensed trade history so it remains very hard to see how she can remain in post and I, like I suspect many others, have lost faith in her ability to keep the city safe.

“It is time for her to go.”

But Mrs Laing fired back: “As an ex-police officer I would have thought Councillor Nicoll would understand it would be highly inappropriate for the council or any councillor to dictate terms to the quasi-judicial licensing board.

“Councillor Nicoll should also be aware the licensing board quite rightly decides its own policies, free from any political interference.”

Already a subscriber? Sign in