Labour trying to ‘destroy’ former leader

Jim McCabe feels betrayed by council colleagues after his de-selection by Labour.
Jim McCabe feels betrayed by council colleagues after his de-selection by Labour.

Former North Lanarkshire Council leader Jim McCabe has accused Labour colleagues of trying to “destroy” his name and reputation.

The veteran Viewpark councillor is furious that the party has deemed him not good enough to stand for re-election to the council next year.

Councillor McCabe said he made it clear months ago that he is quitting politics and there was no need for what is a humiliating de-selection.

He is one of several councillors who have been told they can’t put themselves forward to their local Labour branch and ask to be nominated for the May elections. Another is Airdrie councillor Tom Curley, a former provost.

Councillor McCabe stood down as council leader in February after 16 years in the Civic Centre hotseat although he remains a councillor. Tensions have run high within the Labour group since then after his successor, Jim Logue, sacked a number of committee conveners, prompting them to quit the party.

Councillor Logue also ordered a probe into claims of corruption within the council which led to the suspension of three employees last month.

Councillor McCabe said: “A kangaroo court has set out to discredit me and Tom Curley.

“We made it clear we wouldn’t be standing again so there was no no need for us to be de-selected.”

The decision was made by a panel of Labour officials, but Councillor McCabe said: “Though I can’t prove it, I think it’s come from within the council.

“I’m happy to see new people coming through for Labour, but you have to recognise the efforts of people like us who have been councillors for nearly 25 years.

“I have always tried my best, but that seems irrelevant to people who are out to destroy your name and reputation. We have been stabbed in the back.”

Councillor McCabe said he intends to remain a Labour councillor until May, but could make a formal complaint about this treatment to party headquarters in London.

The issue was raised at a council Labour group meeting attended by Brian Roy, the party’s Scottish secretary, on Monday night.

Councillor McCabe added: “Mr Roy washed his hands of it. I’m not happy and might now contact London. It will also be raised at the Thorniewood branch meeting next week.”