No confidence vote threatened against Moray Council's new convener
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Opposition members concerned about Moray Council's new convener have been told to come up with more evidence or "let the matter lie".
A total of 13 councillors have signed an open letter calling for Marc Macrae (Fochabers/Lhanbryde, Conservative) to refer himself to the Standards Commission or face a vote of no confidence.
They say they have "grave concern" about Councillor Macrae's past behaviour.
It's understood that in an incident three years ago Cllr Macrae used swear words when complaining about a council employee to his line manager.
Last week he issued a statement apologising for his actions and saying he was not proud of them.
This followed comments made in public by Frank Brown, a former Conservative colleague who stood down before the local elections, claiming that Cllr Macrae was "not a fit and proper person" to be the council's convenor.
It was also claimed by Mr Brown that "several" complaints have been made, although he gave no further details.
Conservative co-leader of the council Neil McLennan (Buckie) has now issued a statement on the matter.
He said: "The call from opposition councillors for Marc Macrae to refer himself to the Standards Commission is rather odd, given that the conduct they object to has already been looked into with no further action taken at the time.
"Of course, if they have further allegations and substantiated evidence of poor behaviour, then that’s a different matter entirely and I’d encourage them to present these to the Standards Commission.
"But if they don’t, I’d urge them, politely, to let the matter lie.
"Councillor Macrae has apologised for his past behaviour, and has promised there will be no repeat of it.
"He is an extremely popular local councillor – as last month’s election result proved.
"I believe he now deserves the opportunity to get on with his role as council convener."
Cllr Macrae was voted in as civic head last month as part of the minority Conservative administration.
There are 26 elected members in the council including 11 Conservatives.
The letter to cllr Macrae threatening a vote of no confidence has been signed by eight SNP councillors, three Labour and two independents.
It says: "We are of the firm view that on the basis of the information reported you are not a fit and proper person to hold the role of convener and act as civic head in our region.
"It is with great regret that we must, therefore, ask that you refer yourself to the Standards Commission for investigation of the conduct issues relating to actions involving both staff and other councillors."
A convener represents the council at civic and ceremonial events.
The letter gives the cllr Macrae five working days to refer himself or face a vote at the next meeting of the full council on June 29.
It is signed by:
Neil Cameron, SNP
Theresa Coull, SNP
John Cowe, Independent
John Divers, Labour
Jérémie Fernandes, SNP
Juli Harris, SNP
Sandy Keith, Labour
Scott Lawrence, SNP
Graham Leadbitter, SNP
Shona Morrison, SNP
Derek Ross, Independent
Sonya Warren, SNP
Ben Williams, Labour