Scottish Labour Executive refers Aberdeen councillors to NCC over Tory deal

The nine Labour councillors who were suspended last year after entering an unauthorised coalition with the Conservatives in Aberdeen have been referred to Labour’s National Constitutional Committee, the party’s disciplinary body, after the coalition deal was once again rejected by the party’s ruling executive.

The Scottish Executive Committee have referred the nine Aberdeen Labour councillors suspended last year to the Labour’s disciplinary body in a meeting today. A decisive moment in recent Scottish Labour history, this move will in all likelihood lead to their expulsion from the Labour Party.

The move will be seen as a clear signal from the new party leadership that deals with the Conservatives are politically out of bounds.

An initial suspension was handed out in 2017, when the group reached a coalition agreement with the Tories without seeking approval from the party executive. The suspended councillors claimed that they had secured a ‘good deal’ for Aberdeen, but were widely criticised for working with Tories and handing the SNP a political gift.

Commenting on the decision, Cathy Peattie, Chair of the Scottish Executive Committee said:

“The Scottish Executive Committee cannot endorse this deal and, following a year’s suspension, we are now left with no choice but to recommend the referral of the group to the body of the party that will consider their exclusion.

“On behalf of the Scottish Labour Party, I would like to put on record my thanks to the group for their work for the Labour Party over many years, and express our regret that they chose to jeopardise their membership of the party by doing an unauthorised deal with another political group and independent councillors.”

Lewis MaCleod, a council candidate in 2017 agreed with the executive’s decision, stating:

"As an Aberdeen Labour council candidate in the last round of elections, I wholeheartedly support the SEC's decision to reject  the power sharing deal between Aberdeen Labour and the Tories, and to refer the now suspended councillors to the NCC for possible expulsion.

In order for us to win at both a local and national level, it is essential that we put forward a clear, socialist platform to transform the lives of working class communities.

We must be clear that in order to achieve this, we should be directly confronting and opposing the Conservatives - not cosying up to them in council chambers.”

Lina Nass, the women’s officer in Aberdeen Central and vice chair when the deal was struck, also welcomed the decision:

“Running a council is a political act, it’s not just a question of competent management. The Tories are destroying communities up and down the country, and any sort of coalition deal with them is beyond the pale, even beyond the political damage it does to Labour everywhere else. I’m glad the SEC feels the same way, and I think it shows that the party is learning the lessons of 2014.”

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