Banned councillor cleared to attend

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Suspended councillor Barry Turner was questioned about why he was present for a debate on an item relating to the Strategic Development Planning Authority for Edinburgh and South East Scotland (SESplan) at a full meeting of East Lothian Council last week.

Councillor Turner, planning committee convener, was suspended from attending any committees dealing with planning matters for three months for breaching the Councillors’ Code of Conduct after lobbying Administration colleagues against a planning application for 94 new houses at Wallyford in an e-mail prior to a meeting. The ruling came at the end of a Standards Commission hearing in Haddington last month.

Although Councillor Turner, Liberal Democrat, was not present at the full council meeting when members decided on supermaket plans for Haddington, he came in for the SESplan report on the agenda.

Councillor Norman Hampshire, Labour, said: “This item is still connected to planning and I take it there has been legal advice taken that he is able to take part in the decision. If it has been checked with the legal officer that’s fine, I accept that.”

Chief Executive Angela Leitch said the point had been clarified with the monitoring officer after the Standards Commission report the week before. Councillor Turner confirmed that he was at the meeting “legitimately.”

Full report in this week’s News

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