Shamed Aberdeen councillor Alan Donnelly has denied backing his critic’s budget proposals as a “publicity stunt” on his first day back after a year-long suspension.
The Torry and Ferryhill member was barred by the Standards Commission after being convicted of sexual assault.
Yesterday’s council meeting was the first time he has been involved since last March, and he almost immediately entered the spotlight by backing the Liberal Democrat budget.
Put forward by one of his fiercest critics, group leader Ian Yuill, the spending plan had been expected to be seconded by fellow Lib Dem Steve Delaney.
But Donnelly beat him to it – and according to the “taxi rank principle” the Lord Provost said was outlined in council rules, that meant the former Conservative, now an unaligned independent, got to speak to it.
When Mr Delaney eventually got his turn to support his group’s budget, he said: “I was rather disappointed at our resident sex offender’s intervention – another of his publicity stunts which is unwelcome.
“Maybe it is just time he realised what everyone else is saying and he just went now.”
Mr Yuill, who led calls for Mr Donnelly to resign, later added: “Normally I would start by thanking my seconder but I am not going to – what with it being a stunt by a convicted sex offender, whose seconding – like his presence – is unwanted and unwelcome.”
But last night, Mr Donnelly, 66, said councillors – all of whom have called for him to quit – were “unbelievably hypocritical” given some of their histories – and said he had backed the Lib Dem budget as it was “very good” with “social conscience”.
He told said: “I’ve no intention to play dirty, but if they want all that dragged up.
“I’m sick to death of hearing I should resign. I have no intention of resigning, none whatsoever as I have done nothing wrong.
“This is not over with me, the conviction is there but I deny it and the truth will come out eventually.
“There is rehabilitation of getting people back to lead normal lives and contributing towards society.
“The sheriff told me last January to put this behind me – that’s a bit difficult as I am getting all this abuse and disrespect from councillors Yuill and Delaney.”
The former depute provost was convicted of sexual assault in December 2019 after a trial at Aberdeen Sheriff Court.
Mr Donnelly had denied the charges but was found guilty after trial of touching his victim’s face, hair and body and kissing him on the face.
He was sentenced to an eight-month supervision order, placed on the sex offenders register and ordered to pay his victim £800 in compensation.