Sus­pend de­pute provost, de­mand SNP

Ha­rass­ment claims

The Press and Journal (Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire) - - FRONT PAGE - BY JON HEBDITCH

The SNP has called for Aberdeen’s de­pute provost Alan Donnelly to be sus­pended from his party’s group fol­low­ing al­le­ga­tions of sex­ual ha­rass­ment.

A po­lice probe is un­der way into claims the Torry and Fer­ry­hill Con­ser­va­tive be­haved in­ap­pro­pri­ately to­wards a man last Novem­ber at a civic func­tion on Hol­burn Street.

The Scot­tish Con­ser­va­tive Party has sus­pended him while the po­lice in­ves­ti­ga­tion takes place.

How­ever, the Tory group leader on Aberdeen City Coun­cil, Dou­glas Lums­den, has in­sisted he will re­main a mem­ber of the rul­ing ad­min­is­tra­tion.

How­ever, he has pro­hib­ited him from car­ry­ing out any civic du­ties in his de­pute provost role.

SNP group leader Stephen Flynn has now urged Mr Lums­den to re­con­sider.

He said: “It is in­com­pre­hen­si­ble that Coun­cil­lor Donnelly can be sus­pended from the Tory party yet be al­lowed to re­main a lead­ing fig­ure in their coun­cil group and ad­min­is­tra­tion.

“Be­yond that, mem­bers of the pub­lic have al­ready ex­pressed their com­plete con­fu­sion as to how the Tory coun­cil group can see fit to ap­par­ently ban Coun­cil­lor Donnelly from his civic du­ties, yet re­tain him in his prom­i­nent role as de­pute provost. De­spite the na­ture of these al­le­ga­tions be­ing ex­tremely se­ri­ous, the Tories at a na­tional level seem to be at odds with their lo­cal coun­cil group as to what course of ac­tion should ac­tu­ally be taken.

“At this stage, the Con­ser­va­tive Party need to ex­plain to the peo­ple of Aberdeen why a lead­ing politi­cian can be sus­pended from their party yet re­tain their stand­ing and po­si­tion, in a lo­cal coun­cil group.”

Any re­moval of Mr Donnelly from the rul­ing ad­min­is­tra­tion would prob­a­bly lead to a com­plete over­haul of the coun­cil’s com­mit­tees, tip­ping the bal­ance in favour of op­po­si­tion mem­bers.

The rul­ing Con­ser­va­tive, Aberdeen Labour and In­de­pen­dent coali­tion has a wafer-thin sin­gle mem­ber ma­jor­ity over the op­po­si­tion groups.

M r D o n n e l l y h a s

“You would think Stephen Flynn would re­spect due process in­stead of look­ing for po­lit­i­cal gain”

pre­vi­ously faced al­le­ga­tions of in­ap­pro­pri­ate be­hav­iour.

In 2001, he was fired from his so­cial work job af­ter it emerged he bought a reg­is­tered sex of­fender a drink in a gay club.

Mr Donnelly met the man, a reg­is­tered sex of­fender, while help­ing to look af­ter him at a hos­tel in the city.

St Fitticks Hos­tel in Torry was used as a half­way house for of­fend­ers who have just been re­leased from prison.

In a var­ied work­ing life, Mr Donnelly has held posts in the Mer­chant Navy, Aberdeen Air­port and the rail ser­vice.

Mr Lums­den said: “I won’t be tak­ing ad­vice from the SNP on how to han­dle this in­ci­dent af­ter the chaos we have seen in their party over the Alex Sal­mond al­le­ga­tions. You would think Stephen Flynn would re­spect due process in­stead of look­ing for po­lit­i­cal gain and a press re­lease.

“Coun­cil­lor Donnelly has not yet been charged nor been spo­ken to by the po­lice about the al­le­ga­tion.

“We will con­tinue to as­sess the sit­u­a­tion as it de­vel­ops and take ap­pro­pri­ate ac­tions.”

AL­LE­GA­TIONS: Alan Donnelly is be­ing in­ves­ti­gated over sex­ual ha­rass­ment claims

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