A top SNP councillor is facing calls to step down after saying community leaders could “bore for Scotland” during an online meeting while he thought his microphone was muted.
Councillor Alex Nicoll, the party’s group leader on Aberdeen City Council, was attending the meeting of the Community Planning Aberdeen board last week.
The organisation includes the chief executives of the local authority and NHS Grampian, as well as representatives from the emergency services.
Also present were members of Aberdeen Civic Forum and the third sector interface ACVO.
But at around one hour and 11 minutes into the meeting, during an exchange between Aberdeen City Council leader Jenny Laing and chief executive Angela Scott, Mr Nicoll can be heard complaining that those speaking “could bore for Scotland”.
And despite Labour leader Mrs Laing telling him he was not on mute, the former police officer continued to complain for around 30 seconds.
Nicoll should ‘consider position’
She described Mr Nicoll’s comments as “disparaging and extremely disappointing”, and insisted he should “consider his position” as group leader.
”I suspect this matter may be referred to the Standards Commission as Councillor Nicoll’s actions were hugely disrespectful and ill-mannered given the importance of the matters being discussed at the Community Planning board meeting,” Mrs Laing added.
“It is obvious that Councillor Nicoll has no time for the community, and given his contempt towards the CPA board he really should consider his position as leader of the SNP in Aberdeen.”
‘Council leader would prefer to bore for Britain’
Mr Nicoll said the video “clearly showed” his dog walker arriving to collect his pets – even though he did not appear on camera at the time.
And despite using the word “folks”, the SNP group leader insisted he was only referring to Mrs Laing – and not any of the other board members.
“As the video clearly shows, my dog walker entered as Cllr Laing was speaking and I’m sure most of Aberdeen will forgive me for feeling slightly fed up at once again having to listen to her pontificate,” he said.
“Having spent 22 years on the policing frontline it is absurd to suggest that I would knowingly seek to be disrespectful to members from outside bodies – and if any were offended by my flippant remark about Cllr Laing then I would apologise.
“Of course, if I’ve offended Cllr Laing by inferring that she can bore for Scotland then I would apologise on that front too – knowing her political views she would likely much prefer to bore for Britain.”
Ms Scott declined to comment on the matter.