Senior party member calls on Young to stand down

COUNCILLORS Charles Kennedy and Jack Young have come under fire from a senior member of the Strathkelvin and Bearsden Constituency Labour Party.

Speaking this week constituency secretary Stephen Baillie confirmed that Councillor Kennedy had been expelled for supporting Jean Turner in the 2003 election campaign.

And he also attacked Councillor Young for standing down in support of his axed colleague, insisting he should resign his seat as it had been "won with a Labour majority."

Mr Baillie's comments come just one week after an official spokesperson for the Scottish Labour Party refused to confirm the official reason for Councillor Kennedy's expulsion.

Mr Baillie - himself a former East Dunbartonshire councillor - said: "Charles Kennedy was not expelled for backing the cross-party campaign to save Stobhill Hospital. The Labour Party nationally believes he backed Jean Turner.

"Labour MPs, MSPs, councillors and party members have all been involved in the Save Stobhill campaign, which has been running now for about four or five years.

"Charles Kennedy was given adequate opportunity to defend himself locally and nationally. He refused to attend meetings when written to and telephoned on numerous occasions.

"This issue has been rumbling on for some time now. The point I am making though is that for some strange reason Charles Kennedy does not want to defend himself."

He went on: "Given that Jack Young was elected as a Labour councillor, the only decent and honourable thing for him to do is to resign his seat and fight it as an independent.

"Jack Young stood as a Labour candidate and won the seat as a Labour candidate. He can't all of a sudden say he wants to be an independent."

Labour Group Leader, Councillor Alex Hannah, added: "Councillor Kennedy was the first leader of the council and did a very good job under very difficult circumstances.

"His input into the Labour Group will be missed. I have been a friend of his for a number of years, but he has broken party rules and has been expelled after a lengthy investigation.

"Councillor Young has decided to resign from the party because, in his opinion, Councillor Kennedy was unfairly treated and there is really not much more I can say on this issue."

john.egan@jnscotland.co.uk