Former Glasgow councillor faces standards hearing

A former Glasgow councillor is facing a standards hearing following allegations about his conduct at a council meeting.

Martin McElroy, an ex-Labour representative for Springburn/Robroyston, has been called to a hearing in Glasgow’s city chambers on Tuesday, September 13.

It is believed the complaint relates to a virtual full council meeting held ahead of the Scottish Government elections last year.

The former councillor said he was unable to discuss the allegations ahead of the hearing, but insisted suggestions that it concerned a political image appearing in the background of his screen during the meeting were not correct.

At the time Mr McElroy was standing as the Labour candidate for Glasgow Provan.

Glasgow City Chambers - home of Glasgow City Council.

Parts of a recording of that meeting have since been removed from the council’s webcast library but during the meeting the Lord Provost at the time, Philip Braat, warned councillors: “Members can leave themselves exposed to being referred to the Standards Commission.”

He later added: “Whatever you say during this pre-election period can have consequences, so please be careful of what you say and show on screen.

“We cannot have anything that favours one specific political party in the run up to the election I’m afraid to say. Those are the rules, not my rules, those are the national rules in respect of the pre-election period.”

The recording of the meeting also shows Mr McElroy apologising “to anybody who that background may have offended”. “It wasn’t my intention,” he added.

The Standards Commission has decided to hold a hearing in relation to the complaint. The Commission, an independent body, will rule on whether the Councillors’ Code of Conduct has been breached.

If it is decided Mr McElroy did breach the code, the Commission will choose the appropriate sanction. These include censure, suspension and disqualification.

Complaints against elected members are investigated by the Commissioner for Ethical Standards in Public Life in Scotland who reports to the Standards Commission.

The Commissioner will present evidence at the hearing and councillors are entitled to attend or be represented. They can also present evidence and both parties can call witnesses.