Labour was right to suspend them says MSP husband of Aberdeen councillor

A labour MSP married to one of the councillors suspended from the city council today said Kezia Dugdale was “right to follow the rules of the party”.

But North-east MSP Lewis Macdonald would not be drawn on his personal opinion on the matter, saying it was for councillors to comment on.

All nine members of the Labour group in Aberdeen have been suspended after defying the wishes of the party’s ruling Scottish Executive Committee (SEC) and entering into an administration with the Conservatives.

The move means there are currently no councillors in office in Aberdeen representing the Labour Party.

Mr Macdonald, whose wife Sandra is one of the councillors suspended, said: “The matter on the council is for councillors to comment on.

“As far as my Labour colleagues are concerned clearly they made a judgement call that they followed through.”

The MSP said the party’s decision would have come as “no great surprise” to anyone involved.

He added: “Sandra is on the council and I don’t imagine it will make much of a difference to us.

“We’ll still hope to find time to be in the same room occasionally.”

When asked on his own opinion, the MSP said it was “not for me to say”.

He added: “In terms of Kezia, she was right to follow the rules of the party and that’s entirely appropriate.

“The Scottish Executive Committee made a judgement and clearly only the people in the room will know the grounds with which they made that judgement.

“Of course Sandra and I are married and not just are we husband and wife, but we have both been politically active together.

“So of course we discuss all these matters as you’d expect.”

Scottish Labour leader Ms Dugdale has defended her leadership amid a claim it is in “meltdown” over council coalitions.

Nicola Sturgeon used First Minister’s Questions yesterday to claim Labour “is in disarray, it is in civil war, it is in meltdown”. She added: “As leader of the Scottish Labour Party she is not in control of her own party because she can’t stop her councillors going into coalition with Tories up and down the country.”

The SEC also rejected a possible coalition with the Tories in West Lothian.

Asked at a briefing with journalists whether the actions of the Aberdeen group had undermined her leadership and the party, Ms Dugdale said: “No, because I’ve been very clear that they don’t act as Labour councillors when they’re passing on Tory cuts in Aberdeen.”