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Former Moray councillor says new convener is ‘not a fit and proper person’

Fochabers Lhanbryde councillor Marc Macrae.
Fochabers Lhanbryde councillor Marc Macrae.

A former party colleague of the new Moray Council convener says he is “not a fit and proper person” to hold the role.

Frank Brown, who was an Elgin North councillor until earlier this month, was a member of the Conservative group serving on the council with Marc Macrae from 2017 until Mr Brown stood down.

Mr Macrae became convener of the council this week when the Conservatives were voted in as a minority administration.

But according to Mr Brown, complaints made by council staff about the behaviour of the Fochabers Lhanbryde councillor ended up with Mr Macrae standing down as chairman of the local authority’s audit and scrutiny committee three years ago.

At the time, Mr Macrae said he was relinquishing the chairmanship for health reasons.

Marc Macrae with Douglas Ross at the election count earlier this month. Picture by Jason Hedges

The Conservative party has stepped in to defend the new convener calling him an “extremely popular local councillor”.

However, Mr Macrae’s behaviour resulted in him being interviewed by the Moray Conservative Association.

Mr Macrae said he was not proud of his actions but he had immediately apologised.

Mr Brown said: “Marc Macrae should not be convener of Moray Council as he’s not a fit and proper person.

“Several complaints were made about his behaviour by council staff.

Former Elgin North councillor Frank Brown.

“My concerns were around his conduct, and his conduct resulted in him being removed as chairman of the audit and scrutiny committee, and resulted in him being warned by the Conservative party.

“This information was known to the new group leaders Neil McLennan and Kathleen Robertson, but despite this the leadership and the group were determined to make him convener

“The convener of Moray Council needs to be blemish-free and Mr Macrae is not.”

Party backs new convener

Mr Macrae was the first councillor in the Fochabers Lhanbryde ward to gain a seat during the first round of counting in the local government elections, with 1,590 first preference votes.

In a statement released by the party, Mr Macrae said: “The incident referred to is not something I’m proud of, but I immediately apologised to the member of staff concerned for my behaviour.

“The matter was investigated and not taken any further.

“I have always been a hard-working councillor, something I believe is recognised by constituents and reflected in the vote I received at the recent council elections.”

The party nationally is backing the new civic head of the local authority, saying the incidents were investigated and he was not reported to the Standards Commission.

A spokesperson for the Scottish Conservatives said: “Marc Macrae is an extremely popular local councillor, whose appointment as convener has been approved not just by our councillors but by the council at large.

“These issues were investigated at the time, the Standards Commission were made aware and no further action was taken.

Marc Macrae an ‘extremely popular local councillor’

“The Scottish Conservative group in Moray Council are moving forward under the new leadership team of councillors Neil McLennan and Kathleen Robertson after a superb result in the recent local government elections.”

Former Conservative councillor for Forres Claire Feaver, who stepped down earlier this month, was aware of the issues surrounding Mr Macrae.

She said: “I am very disappointed that this poor conduct, which caused problems during the last council term, is evidently still raising concerns now.”

Former Forres Councillor Claire Feaver.

Alan Tissiman, the former vice-chairman of the Moray Conservative Association, confirmed he had been asked to interview Mr Macrae after previous complaints had been received, but declined to comment further.

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