An Angus councillor has said democracy is “dead” in the county following the failure of a motion at a council meeting to discuss the comments made by a Montrose councillor.
In June, town councillor Bill Duff tweeted that those voting ‘No’ in the upcoming Referendum were “second class Scots”.
Several councillors, including Bob Myles, had called a meeting of Angus Council to move a motion to pledge that councillors would “participate in the forthcoming referendum in a respectful and democratic manner, commitment as laid down in the “Standards in Public life” and that the council “should be an example others and condemn the comments by an Angus Councillor that those voting ‘No’ at the referendum are ‘second class Scots’.”
However, at the meeting the motion was denied by Angus Provost, Helen Oswald, prompting Mr Myles to describe the move as “dictatorship of the worse kind”.
This led to some councillors calling for a vote of no confidence in Mrs Oswald.
Speaking after the meeting, Mr Myles said: ”Despite the motion being fully competent and relevant, Provost Oswald refused any discussion on the matter.
“It’s a motion that all Angus Councillors should have had a say on.
“It was a disgraceful and total abuse of power.
“To not allow to be discussed is atrocious.
“No other member was allowed to say anything during the meeting.
“The competency of the motion was checked by the law and admin department beforehand.
“Angus Councillors should be leading by example - not name calling.
“Insults are the last option of a dullard who has no coherent argument and do not comply with the Standards in Public Life.
“Members of the opposition were appalled at the treatment in the chambers.
“Team Angus is well and truly dead if this is how they are going to carry on.”
Montrose Councillor David May said: “I didn’t agree with the Provost’s decision to deny the motion.
“It is not too late for Councillor Duff to apologise.
“Come September whatever the vote is we are all going to have to work together.
A spokesperson for the SNP Administration said: “While the calling of a special council meeting was competent, the motion itself was not.
“Whether those councillors who called this meeting may have decided not to claim their expenses, the cost of holding this meeting is still hundreds of pounds
“This is a complete waste of taxpayer’s money and officer time.
“This is not urgent council business.
“To use the Council Chamber in an attempt to hold a kangaroo court against the opinion of an individual which wasn’t sexist or racist is petty political opportunism of the worst kind.
“After all even Tory candidate, Derek Wann, has stated that we are all entitled to express our opinion. It is your right to agree or disagree with that opinion or whether you wish to respond directly back or as most people have done, just simply ignore it.
“It was a social media exchange between a ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ supporter over two months ago and I doubt any of the Councillors will have read the full twitter exchange, where a section was taken out of context, to grab front page headlines.
“Isn’t it ironic, though, that the person who was exchanging tweets with Councillor Duff stated online at the time that they weren’t offended nor shocked and that the whole matter was a nothing story anyway?
“That this urgent meeting has been called and led by so called Independent councillors who promised to take politics out of local government is a disappointing but no surprise as many of them seem to have forgotten their pledge to the electorate.”