Davies prompts selection review
Evan McLean of Buchlyvie makes a fair and valid point ( letters, October 6) about the vetting and selection procedures of local Conservative candidates. The same point could, of course, be made of candidates selected by other parties.
The Scottish Conservative Party’s advice to all candidates was to review carefully anything that they had sent by social media and to avoid absolutely sending any material by Facebook or Twitter that could embarrass the candidate or the party. Councillor Robert Davies did not follow that advice.
I can assure Mr McLean that the Scottish Conservatives are now reviewing their vetting and selection procedures, learning the lessons from this sorry episode. This is a realistic, honest and principled approach which the Stirling Conservative Association and the council group welcome and which no reasonable person should criticise.
I want to assure Mr McLean that the lifting of the suspension on the Stirling councillors was not to cover up the deficiencies of vetting procedures. It was conditional upon the councillors apologising for the views that they had expressed and undergoing training and counselling in diversity and equality.
Unfortunately, in spite of clear and unambiguous advice from the Scottish party, his colleagues in the council group and the Stirling Conservative Association, Councillor Davies declined to apologise and resigned from the council group.
The party immediately implemented its procedures to terminate his membership. He now therefore sits as an independent councillor in a ward that elected him a Conservative in May.
Mr McLean is by no means the only person in Forth & Endrick ward who thinks that Councillor Davies should do the honourable thing and resign. Many others have made the same representations to me. That decision is, however, his. Sadly, perhaps, we do not have a system of recall which exists in some other countries and which would enable members of the community to express their view on this matter.
Michael Hirst, chairman, Stirling Conservative Association