Claims that questions are being curbed

Councillor Kevin Lang said questions are 'vital'.
Councillor Kevin Lang said questions are 'vital'.

Edinburgh City Council’s administration has been accused of dodging scrutiny by allegedly attempting to curb the number of questions asked by political opponents.

In a report to be discussed at a full council meeting, officers highlight a “sharp increase” in the number of questions being tabled by councillors – pointing out it puts too much work on staff to answer them.

Almond Lib Dem Cllr Kevin Lang said: “Council questions are a vital part of holding this SNP and Labour administration to account. Rather than being viewed as a problem, the recent increase in questions should be welcomed as a sign of councillors working hard to raise local and city-wide concerns.

“I know some conveners do not like having to answer questions each month. However, it would be wrong to restrict questions simply because some in the administration view them as some sort of unfair or unnecessary hindrance on their valuable time.”

Conservative Cllr Callum Laidlaw hit out at Housing and Economy Convener Cllr Kate Campbell, who took to Twitter to label opposition motions and questions as “grand-standing”.

He pointed out that Ms Campbell had cast doubt on the council’s suitability as a decision-making forum.

He said: “The SNP-Labour coalition seems to think that local government is best conducted out of sight and out of mind, with the Housing and Economy convener recently stating publicly that she doesn’t believe full council is the forum for decisions. It’s therefore unsurprising that they are seeking to formally reduce the number of questions coming to full council – although there is a certain irony that this decision will have to be made at full council.”

David Bol

Local Democracy Reporter