SNP councillors who burned Smith report re-elected to executive posts

_79311616_lordsmith_gettyFour SNP councillors who were suspended from the party after burning a copy of the Smith Commission report have been re-elected to top posts within their local group.

A video of the elected Renfrewshire Council members burning the document was posted online in December, but later removed.

They were reinstated by the party last month after a two month suspension.

All four have now been re-elected to executive posts by the SNP group.

Former Renfrewshire Council leader Brian Lawson and councillors Will Mylet and Mags MacLaren were filmed outside the council headquarters burning copies of the report on further devolution for the Scottish Parliament.

‘Lied to’

Kenny MacLaren, who was a researcher for SNP MSP Stuart McMillan, was also involved but could not be seen in the video clip.

As they set fire to a copy of the report above a bin, Mr Mylet said: “The Smith Commission report – this is exactly what we think about it.

“No real powers for Scotland yet again from Westminster. We’ve been lied to again. There you go Gordon Brown – cheers.”

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon described their actions at the time as “unacceptable”.

But an investigation by the Standards Commission found the four councillors had not broken the Councillors’ Code of Conduct.

Mr Lawson has now been re-elected as Renfrewshire SNP group leader, Mr MacLaren is group secretary, Ms MacLaren is treasurer and Mr Mylet is the group press officer.

Douglas Alexander, the Labour MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire South, questioned the decision to reinstate the councillors.

He said: “What kind of message does it send when the SNP promotes someone who takes part in these shameful stunts?

“There will now be serious questions about why this sort of conduct is rewarded within the party.

“It did a deep disservice to the political debate we are having here in Scotland. Discussion and debate is the lifeblood of our democracy, but publicly torching documents they disagree with has no place in a modern society.”

‘Disciplinary hearing’

A SNP spokesman said it had been a decision for the local party branch.

He said: “The individuals concerned were suspended from the party for two months following a disciplinary hearing at the end of last year and returned to the SNP group last month.

“Group office bearer positions are elected at the AGM each year, and group members decided to re-elected those councillors to executive positions. That’s entirely a matter for members of the group.

Labour MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, Jim Sheridan, raised the issue at Prime Minister’s Questions at Westminster on Wednesday.

Prime Minister David Cameron said: “The Smith process was about bringing together different parties who often disagree with each other quite violently about issues to come to the right answer for the future of Scotland.

“It was an excellent report and we are committed to putting it in place, whoever is the government after the next election.

“It is disappointing that the SNP, who only want to break up our country, won’t stick to the promises that they have made.”

http://www.bbc.com

 

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