Leader will remain during police probe

Councillor Paul Kelly
Councillor Paul Kelly

A bid to get North Lanarkshire Council leader Jim Logue to stand down while a police probe into his activities takes place has been thrown out.

The authority’s SNP group demanded the move after an investigation began into Councillor Logue’s dealings as chairman of NL Leisure, the trust which runs sports facilities on behalf of the council.

He was criticised in an internal audit after he failed to register his directorship of two companies set up without the knowledge of the NL board.

A motion before a special council meeting demanded Councillor Logue step aside “until the police have concluded whethere there is evidence of criminality”.

However, Labour and Conservative councillors joined forces to defeat the call 40-33.

SNP business manager Councillor Allan Stubbs said the council’s reputation “already lies in tatters”, adding: “How long it will take to repair the damage is anyone’s guess.”

However, Labour group depute leader Paul Kelly accused the SNP of “wasting valuable time on the politics of personality and smears”. He claimed he and Councillor Logue have been subjected to “continual smears and threats” since taking up their posts last year.

Councillor Logue said legal advice was he didn’t have to register his directorship with the council and stressed the police have yet to speak to him.

Calling for an end to petty squabbling, he added: “This is damaging North Lanarkshire’s reputation just as we are trying to attract industry and investment.

“What company want to locate here when all they read are negative headlines?”