Local News for Friday 2nd June 2017
Councillors ‘not unethical’ in Sunday opening vote
The Commissioner for Ethical Standards in Public Life in Scotland has not upheld a complaint against seven Western Isles councillors in connection with the decision not to open Lewis Sports Centre on a Sunday. The complaint was made on behalf of the Families Into Sport and Health (FiSH) group, and alleged a contravention of the Councillors' Code of Conduct. FISH suggested that, at a meeting of the full Council on 5th October 2016, the seven failed to declare a non-financial interest, namely their membership of church organisations. Their religious beliefs were said to have influenced them to vote against Sunday opening of the Sports Centre. The full council that day agreed by a majority of 19 to nine not to proceed with Sunday opening. The Councillors concerned said that they voted against Sunday opening for a number of reasons, including the Chief Executive’s recommendation and the views of their constituents..The Commissioner found that insufficient evidence had been presented to show that they acted in accordance with their own religious beliefs or that their decisions were determined by their membership of a religious organisation. He concluded: “My conclusion is therefore that the allegations outlined in the complaint did not involve a breach of the Councillors' Code of Conduct."