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Moray Council administration ‘delaying the inevitable’ on convener no confidence vote

Moray Council convener Marc Macrae will face a vote of no confidence in August.
Moray Council convener Marc Macrae will face a vote of no confidence in August.

Moray Council Conservative administration are “delaying the inevitable” after a vote of no confidence in the convener was pushed back.

Members could have been asked to make a decision to suspend standing orders last week. This would have allowed a no confidence vote to be held.

But a two-thirds majority was needed for that to happen. The Conservative group makes up 11 of the 26 elected members. So the matter has been left until after the summer recess.

Ten councillors – eight SNP and two independents – are calling for a vote on the suitability of councillor Marc Macrae to be the civic head of the local authority.

It follows concerns raised by Frank Brown, a former Conservative colleague of Mr Macrae. He said he was not a fit and proper person to hold the position following complaints about his behaviour.

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

SNP group co-leader Graham Leadbitter.

Speaking after the meeting of full council, SNP group co-leader Graham Leadbitter said the Tory administration were “delaying the inevitable”.

However Conservative co-leader Neil McLennan said leaving the Moray no confidence vote until after the summer would allow “confirmation of leadership structure”.

Mr Leadbitter said: “There are unanswered questions about the convener’s past conduct that need to be addressed. It would have been better had the administration allowed the debate to take place this week rather than delaying the inevitable until August.

“The convener has already conceded that there have been past issues but has thus far provided no detail or explanation.

‘These questions are vital’

“This role is the civic head in Moray and these questions, and more importantly the answers, are vital to ensure that there is confidence in the holder of this senior councillor role.”

Earlier this month, 13 elected members signed an open letter sent to Mr Macrae. It called on him to refer himself to the Standards Commission or face a vote of no confidence.

Moray Council co-leader and Conservative group co-leader Neil McLennan.

Since then three Labour councillors have withdrawn their support for the Moray no confidence vote. This followed advice that a time bar for an investigation by the commission had passed.

Council co-leader Neil McLennan said: “The summer recess gives the opportunity now to gear up for the new term and reflect on major issues and opportunities ahead.

“The first meeting back allows confirmation of leadership structure alongside an associated upcoming governance report noted in full council.

“Now that we are through first committee cycles it is a good chance to consider best governance and how to lead Moray going forward.”

The no confidence vote will take place at a meeting of the full council on August 10.

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