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  • Writer's pictureThe Gaudie

We asked Councillors why they voted against allowing the public to speak. We heard back from four.

Updated: Mar 31, 2023

Administration releases joint statement as libraries close across Aberdeen

By Josh Pizzuto-Pomaco

Photo Credit: Josh Pizzuto-Pomaco

      It was a full house at Woodside Library on Thursday, as young and old alike bid fairwell to an essential part of their community. 

    After 140 years of service to the people of Woodside, the imposing stone building, along with five other libraries across Aberdeen, has closed.

But Woodside Library's fate didn't seem like a sure thing earlier this week. Campaigners for Save Aberdeen Libraries and Save Bucksburn Pool arrived at the Council chambers on Monday morning, eager to be granted the opportunity to address the Council about opening up money to prevent the libraries and pool from closing.

Under the Council's standing orders, deputations 'which relate to the annual budget' are not allowed, which meant the campaigners could not speak. However, Councillor M. Tauqeer Malik (Lower Deeside- Labour) made a procedural motion to suspend that standing order and allow deputations to take place.

Much to the chagrin of those in the gallery, who shouted 'Shame' as the vote was announced, the motion did not pass, as all 24 members of the SNP and Lib Dem administration voted against it.

The Gaudie reached out to these 24 councillors on Wednesday night, asking if they could provide reasons for not voting for Councillor Malik's motion.

Just four councillors responded, and only two, Lib Dems Desmond Bouse and Martin Greig, commented on why they voted against the motion. When the remaining councilllors were emailed a second time, and asked to indicate whether or not they wanted to comment, none responded.

However, Councillor Michael Hutchison provided The Gaudie with a statement from 'a partnership spokesperson,' apparently intended to speak for all 24 councillors. This can be seen under his response.

See the full list of comments from individual councillors (sorted alphabetically) below:

Councillor Gill Al-Samarai: Dyce/ Bucksburn/ Danestone (SNP): No response.

Councillor Christian Allard: Torry/ Ferryhill (SNP): No response.

Councillor Alison Alphonse: Bridge of Don (SNP): No response.

Councillor Desmond Bouse: George Street/Harbour (Lib Dem):

''The special meeting, called by Labour and the Conservatives, was an attempt to rerun and misrepresent the budget process. At the special meeting, the Council followed rules surrounding deputations put in place by the then-Conservative and Labour administration. This is not unusual, and both the Conservative and Labour parties have refused deputations in the past. The Partnership is committed to engaging with communities - and I always make myself available to my constituents to discuss any subject they're concerned about at my monthly surgeries.'

Councillor David Cameron, the Lord Provost: Kingswells / Sheddocksley / Summerhill (SNP): No response.

Councillor Hazel Cameron: Hilton / Woodside / Stockethill (SNP): No response.

Councillor Donna Clark: Northfield / Mastrick North (SNP): No response.

Councillor John Cooke: Hazlehead/Queen's Cross/Countesswells (SNP): No response.

Councillor Neil Copland: Hilton / Woodside / Stockethill (SNP): No response.

Councillor Bill Cormie: Midstocket/ Rosemount (SNP): No response.

Councillor Derek Davidson: Airyhall/ Broomhill/ Garthdee (SNP): No response.

Councillor Steve Delaney, the Depute Provost: Kingswells / Sheddocksley / Summerhill (Lib Dem): No response.

Councillor Lee Fairfull: Torry/ Ferryhill (SNP): No response.

Councillor Martin Greig: Hazlehead/Queen's Cross/Countesswells (Lib Dem):

'The special meeting was an unprecedented attempt to rerun the annual budget which was set on 01/03/23. Deputations are not permitted which relate to the annual budget. Labour and Conservatives refused deputations in the past.'

Councillor Dell Henrickson: George Street/ Harbour (SNP): No response.

Councillor Michael Hutchison: George Street/ Harbour (SNP):

Hutchison provided us with a statement from a 'partnership spokesperson,' apparently intended to speak for all of the administration councillors.

Per the spokersperson: 'The council's standing orders have, for as long as I can remember, only ever allowed deputations on reports. The Standing Orders also specifically exclude deputations on the budget, due to the expansive nature of the decisions needing to be taken.

It was the opinion across the Partnership that the Special Council meeting was an attempt to re-open the budget and a decision was taken to apply those same principles to the request for deputations here.

As a Partnership, we have taken steps to extend the opportunity to give deputations to include planning applications and there is now more scope that every before for the public to address council and committee meetings.'

Councillor Neil MacGregor: Dyce/ Bucksburn/ Danestone (SNP): No response.

Councillor Alexander McLellan: Tillydrone/ Seaton/ Old Aberdeen (SNP): No response.

Councillor Ciarán McRae: Northfield / Mastrick North (SNP): No response.

Councillor Jessica Mennie: Bridge of Don (SNP): No response.

Councillor Alex Nicoll: Kincorth / Nigg / Cove (SNP):

Note: Nicoll's comments are from 27 March, the day of the council meeting.

'This is a requisitioned meeting of Council. It was called to discuss various issues. Those calling the meeting did not put forward a motion nor was there a paper before us to make a decision. As we are not discussing a specific matter deputations are incompetent. Under ACC rules if there was a motion or papers before us then they would have been able to speak. Those calling the meeting are aware of this situation and that in the circumstances it was simply incompetent. I have no idea why no motion was moved as they clearly intended to do so.'

Councillor Miranda Radley: Kincorth / Nigg / Cove (SNP): No response.

Councillor Kairin van Sweeden: Tillydrone/ Seaton/ Old Aberdeen (SNP)

van Sweeden told The Gaudie that she could provide her rationale for voting against the motion, but that it was 'right' for the meeting's convener (Lord Provost Cameron) to respond first. Cameron did not respond.

Councillor Ian Yuill: Airyhall/ Broomhill/ Garthdee (Lib Dem): No response.


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