CUTS CHAMPION TO CHALLENGE LEADER

Labour hopeful Hugh Gaffney
Labour hopeful Hugh Gaffney

VETERAN North Lanarkshire Council leader Jim McCabe faces a fight for his seat on the authority from a leader of the campaign against local government cutbacks.

Trade union activist Hugh Gaffney confirmed this week that he is bidding to become a Labour candidate for the Thorniewood ward at next year’s council elections.

That would almost certainly mean a three-way fight involving Councillors McCabe and Bob Burrows for two Labour nominations.

Mr Gaffney is secretary of Tannochside, Viewpark and Fallside branch. Labour has two of the three council seats in the area and it’s accepted that the present voting system makes it impossible to secure three seats.

Branch members are expected to select two candidates before Christmas.

Mr Gaffney is secretary of North Lanarkshire Trade Union Council and last year was one of the leaders of North Lanarkshire Against The Cuts which protested at the council’s decision to slash millions from its budget.

Despite that background, he stressed: “I have had 20 years in the trade union movement, but I have always wanted to get more involved with the local community.

“It’s purely co-incidence that I helped lead the campaign against council cuts.”

Councillor McCabe said: “This is what democracy is all about. I don’t consider this a slight.”

Full story in this week’s Motherwell Times and Bellshill Speaker.