Glasgow & West Scotland

North Lanarkshire Council leader urged to step aside over probe

Councillor Jim Logue Image copyright North Lanarkshire Labour
Image caption Jim Logue announced an investigation into claims of corruption at the council in April last year

Councillors are to hold a vote on whether the leader of North Lanarkshire Council should step aside while police investigate claims of corruption against him.

Jim Logue, who took the helm in March, leads a minority Labour group at the local authority.

Police Scotland have confirmed they have begun an investigation into a member of the council.

Councillors are set to hold a vote on the issue within the next fortnight.

On Wednesday, SNP councillors submitted a formal request for a special council meeting to determine Mr Logue's future.

A spokesman for North Lanarkshire Council said: "I can confirm that a request has been received for a special meeting which will be dealt with in accordance with the council's standing orders."

The request came after police said they were looking into claims of corruption.

A Police Scotland spokeswoman said: "Police received a complaint of alleged corruption regarding an individual at North Lanarkshire Council. Inquiries are ongoing to establish any criminality."

Image copyright Google
Image caption Labour controls North Lanarkshire Council

In April last year, Mr Logue announced that he had ordered an investigation into allegations of corruption at the council.

It followed the receipt of an anonymous letter highlighting issues with procurement processes and contracts related to the council's corporate property portfolio.

The results of that investigation were reported to council managers in September 2016.

Since then, SNP members have called for the findings to be made public.

'Anonymous allegations'

SNP councillor Tom Johnston said: 'The SNP has not taken this decision lightly but we made a promise to the people who elected us to fight for openness, transparency and accountability within this council.

"North Lanarkshire Council has developed a poor reputation over the years and Councillor Logue's refusal to step aside is a further example of everything that is wrong in this area."

Labour councillor, Paul Kelly described the investigation as a "smear campaign".

He added: "Jim Logue has spent his political life fighting the type of practices he is now being falsely accused of being involved in.

"As much as 30 years ago he was exposing those in his own party in Monklands and he instigated the investigation into malpractice in procurement last year.

"No other council leader would risk the challenges of forcing an investigation into anonymous allegations and, as a result, procurement practice has changed completely."

Labour's 32 councillors retained control of North Lanarkshire despite SNP rivals returning 33 members in May's local elections.

The council also has nine Conservative and two independent members.

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