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The National (Scotland)
The National (Scotland)
Hamish Morrison

Cuts shame Labour council leader survives no-confidence vote

A LABOUR council leader who was shamed into reversing swingeing cuts to local services has narrowly survived a no-confidence vote. 

North Lanarkshire leader Jim Logue will remain in place after councillors voted 39 to 35 in his favour.

His planned cuts which would have seen 39 leisure facilities in the area closed were unanimously reversed at a meeting of the council on Thursday.

They would have seen facilities including nurseries, libraries and leisure centres closed across North Lanarkshire.

When first announced, the decision backed by Labour councillors sparked fury and thousands signed a petition to stop the cuts.

Council leader Logue said the cuts would not go ahead after backlash – sparking suggestions Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar ordered him to U-turn.

Sarwar would not be drawn on the suggestion he had given Logue a “bollocking” when questioned by journalists on the campaign trail in Rutherglen earlier this week.

SNP group leader Tracy Carragher told The National the cut plans had caused “anger and anxiety” among locals.

Speaking ahead of the vote, she said: “I believe that [Labour] probably hadn’t cottoned on to the fact that there’s a by-election and the impact that this would have on it.

“And clearly the uproar, you’ll have seen in the letter that’s went out where so many sitting councillors, MSPs, Westminster candidates have all criticised this.

“Then Anas Sarwar [on Tuesday] morning essentially saying there was going to be a statement. In other words, to me, that was Anas Sarwar saying, 'I have told him to reverse this'.

“That to me is: Who’s running North Lanarkshire Council right now?

“While I think it’s the right thing and genuinely, I think the same as every resident in North Lanarkshire right now, I’m happy this is going to be reversed, but it should never have happened in the first place.

“All this anxiety for the past couple of weeks, the amount of work that members of our community have had to put into this, setting up their campaigns, their petitions. People going on TV interviews that have never done something like that in their life.

"He’s caused a lot of anger, he’s caused a lot of anxiety and a lot of upset.”

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