A bitter political row has broken out in Aberdeen’s townhouse after it emerged that eight city councillors are “double dipping” – taking their salary as an elected member, while taking another working for a politician of the same party.
Aberdeen Central MSP Kevin Stewart, the Scottish Government’s housing minister, is understood to employ SNP councillors Michael Hutchison, Alex McLellan, Catriona McKenzie, Ciaran McRae and Jackie Dunbar in some form.
SNP Group leader Stephen Flynn, who also serves as the audit convener, also works as part-time office manager for mental health minister, Maureen Watt MSP for Aberdeen South and North Kincardine.
Dyce, Bucksburn and Danestone councillor Gill Samarai lists herself as working for disgraced MSP Mark MacDonald.
And Conservative George Street and Harbour politician Ryan Houghton works for Aberdeen South MP Ross Thomson.
The Tory group has also been criticised in recent months with council meetings moved to Monday to accommodate Tom Mason – after he was elected as an MSP this year.
Bridge of Don Tory Brett Hunt has also come under fire recently after it emerged he was increasing his working commitments overseas – while staying on as a city councillor.
Last night Aberdeen Labour and Independent members hit out at their SNP members.
But SNP group chief Stephen Flynn dismissed the criticism as “pathetic”.
Aberdeen Labour depute leader Tauqeer Malik said: “I am sure the public of Aberdeen will be shocked to learn that so many SNP Councillors are employed by SNP MP’s and MSP’s through the public purse.”
Independent John Reynolds added: “Sadly this has been happening for years and will continue to happen until the law is changed. Morally it’s wrong but certainly not illegal.
But Mr Flynn said: “You have to laugh at this pathetic guff from councillor Malik given that he is literally in coalition with a Tory who also works for a politician, just like some of his high-profile former Labour colleagues did – that’s without even mentioning the saga of councillor Mason and of course councillor Hunt, who apparently spends most of his time working in the Middle East.”
“Given the state of the coalition of chaos it’s no surprise that they are attempting to deflect from their own shortcomings.”