An official apology saved Moray Council’s current leader and convener-elect from a motion of no confidence after he claimed to have fallen for one of the “oldest reporter tricks”.
Councillor Allan Wright caused uproar among fellow councillors in November when he agreed with a television reporter’s prompt that the 16 councillors who voted for the moratorium on rural school closures and the continuation of Milne’s High School in Fochabers were “cowards”.
SNP members cited the language as “unacceptable” and hit out at Mr Wright with a motion of no confidence.
The nationalist group also dissented against the decision to make him convener of the council after January 1 and their proposed motion was due to go before councillors at yesterday’s full council meeting.
However, following an apology and a retraction by Mr Wright, SNP councillor Gordon McDonald withdrew the motion.
On December 3, Mr Wright sent a written apology to fellow members following the SNP group’s motion of no confidence.
During yesterday’s meeting, Mr Wright said: “I sent an email to all members of the council on December 3, in which I did apologise. It took me a little time to check the content of the recording from the television interview. Having done that, I found that I had fallen into one of the oldest reporter tricks, which was somewhat galling considering my 35-year career as a reporter when I sometimes did the same thing.
“I accept that justifiable offence has been taken. For that I apologise.
“However, what I would dearly like to avoid is an extended round of mud-slinging which, I believe, would do nothing other than undermine the reputation and standing of Moray Council; not me, not the administration, but the whole council.”