Opposition walk out following rule change

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THE opposition at North Lanarkshire Council walked out of last week’s full council meeting accusing the Labour group of running a dictatorship.

This came after a motion put forward by council leader Jim McCabe to remove the ‘25 per cent’ rule was passed by 35 votes to 22.

The ‘25 per cent’ rule allowed councillors on committees to prevent a vote being taken on matters and send it to the full council for deliberation if a quarter of the members agreed.

Councillor McCabe, who represents Thorniewood, said: “Quite simply this rule has been used and abused and there is now no need to have it.

“If you can make a strong enough argument in committee then the item will be put to full council, if you can’t, then it won’t.

“No longer will we spend time debating matters which could already have been
dealt with by the relevant committee.”

After the vote SNP leader David Stocks urged his members to leave the chamber, accompanied by independent councillor Alan O’Brien who is alleged to have claimed he had a driving lesson.

Mr Stocks said: “This council is becoming a Labour dictatorship, ending the right to take committee motions to full council is outrageous.

“Removal of the ‘25 per cent’ rule is farcical. It means, for example,that councillors who are not members of the learning and leisure committee will have no say on the closure of schools in their wards.

“This, of course, will allow Labour councillors to hide from hard choices and means that the public will have no say at council level.

“The move is designed by Labour to dampen down opposition as they set about making up to £100 million of cuts. The SNP opposition only invoked the ‘25 per cent’ rule at certain times, we never abused it.”