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A COUNCILLOR in Edinburgh has been told he must reapply to join the Labour council group after refusing to back a city budget that would impose cuts on residents.
Gordon Munro, a longstanding community politician in Leith, has accused the Labour leadership in Edinburgh of “petty and vindictive” behaviour after the he was removed from administration committees and forced to make his case for rejoining the party group.
The socialist councillor abstained in a February vote on the SNP-Labour coalition’s budget deal, which he said would cause serious harm to communities.
He originally faced a year-long suspension, which would have prevented him from standing in next year’s elections, but has now been told that, contrary to the party’s rulebook, he must reapply for permission to sit as a Labour councillor.
Cllr Munro accepted his punishment but says its scale is without precedent.
He said: “My removal from committees is petty and vindictive and did not happen in the previous case. Being told to reapply is not in the party rule book. I expect to return in August.”
Trade unions in the city have raised concerns about the councillor’s treatment, calling for his immediate reinstatement.
A statement by Unite’s Edinburgh Council branch said he had been a supporter of council workers, adding: “Councillor Munro is a longstanding campaigner against cuts, a lifelong supporter of workers’ rights and a consistent and persistent advocate for those in his ward and beyond who suffer the pains of poverty.
“It is in this context that we ask Edinburgh Labour to rescind or commute this sentence to enable this councillor to do what the role demands of him.”
The Edinburgh Labour councillor group was asked for comment.
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