NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

Councillor stages council tax 'go-slow'

Councillor Sebastian Leslie

An Aberdeenshire councillor suspended by the Conservative Party for not paying his council tax has claimed he is staging a "go-slow" as a protest.

It is understood that Sebastian Leslie, who owns and lives in a castle in his West Garioch constituency, is about £2,500 in arrears.

He said he was trying to highlight what he described as corruption in the Scottish banking system.

The SNP said there would be little sympathy for his "petulant protest".

Despite his suspension from the Conservatives, Mr Leslie remains a member of the ruling administration group on Aberdeenshire Council as an independent councillor.

Mr Leslie is the father of Game of Thrones star Rose Leslie, who played Ygritte in the series.

Image caption Mr Leslie owns a castle in his West Garioch constituency

He told BBC Scotland that he had deliberately kept behind in paying the tax on his properties.

"I will get up to date," he said.

"Everybody has to pay their council tax, if they don't they go to court. I have not been to court.

"I'm paying an agreed amount every month. It's acceptable under the law, but it's a go-slow."

'Petulant protest'

He said he had kept the Scottish Conservatives up to date about his long-running campaign against alleged corruption.

A Conservative Party spokesman said: "Mr Leslie is currently subject to a disciplinary investigation. It would be inappropriate to comment further at this time."

The leader of the SNP group on Aberdeenshire Council, Richard Thomson, said Mr Leslie should "pay up and shut up".

"If he's quite capable of paying the council tax then that's exactly what he should do," he said.

"I think people in Aberdeenshire will have very little sympathy, particularly those who struggle to meet their obligations. They will have very little sympathy for this kind of petulant protest."