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Former Elgin Councillor Paula Coy describes Twitter exchange at heart of Standards Commission for Scotland conduct investigation as "robust political knockabout"

By Lorna Thompson

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A FORMER Moray councillor facing a conduct hearing in the new year over a claim that she breached the Councillors' Code says she will be happy to answer questions at a conduct probe but has described a Twitter exchange as "robust political knockabout".

Paula Coy is alleged to have been "disrespectful" in comments made on Twitter in March this year.

Former Elgin City North councillor Paula Coy. Picture: Daniel Forsyth
Former Elgin City North councillor Paula Coy. Picture: Daniel Forsyth

An online hearing into Ms Coy's conduct will be held on February 16 next year by the Standards Commission for Scotland (SCS), which works to uphold high ethical standards in public life.

A Standards Commission for Scotland spokesperson said: "The allegation to be considered at the hearing is that the respondent was disrespectful, in breach of the Councillors' Code, in a series of tweets in late March this year."

The hearing will be held online and live-streamed on the SCS website.

However, Ms Coy told The Northern Scot on Friday, November 26: “For my own reputation I'm reassured by the rejection of the notion that I had breached confidentiality or put anyone at risk.

"I'm also pleased that the Ethical Standards Commissioner saw this for what it was - robust political knockabout. Whatever technicality the Standards Commission wish to examine next, I'll be happy to answer and I will await their response in February. “

Earlier this week Ms Coy resigned as an SNP councillor for the Elgin City North ward.

She apologised to constituents and colleagues for being unable to see out her five-year term, adding that it had been a difficult decision.

She cited "personal reasons" for her departure.

Ms Coy, who also chaired Moray Council's police and fire committee, said on Wednesday, November 24: "I have had to take the very difficult decision to step down as a councillor.

"This is for personal reasons and I hope that people will be understanding of that.

"I am sorry to my constituents and colleagues that I am unable to see out the term but I believe that stepping down is the right thing to do when I know that I will not be able to fulfil the role in the way that constituents would expect.

"It would be wrong to continue taking a salary from public funds in those circumstances and not something I could, in all conscience, do."

SNP council leader Graham Leadbitter said Ms Coy brought "passion and compassion" to her councillor role.

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