A councillor who won a recent by-election in Oban after standing as an independent has confirmed he is a member of the Labour party.
Independent candidate Kieron Green became Oban, North and Lorn’s new councillor last week after pipping the SNP’s Breege Smyth by 22 votes. Green polled 755 first preference votes compared to Ms Smyth’s 1,055. The independent candidate was elected after second preference votes from losing candidates were transferred.
His twitter profile prior to the by-election contained the following:
Independent standing for Oban North & Lorn Argyll & Bute by-election, technician in Oban High School, Unison rep, ex-Lismore, studied Astrophysics, play bridge.
However shortly after being elected, the profile was altered to include the phrase ‘Labour member’.
The move has led to anger on social media with one person accusing Green of being a “Labour party stooge”. Some questioned the validity of the by-election result. One asked, “Is that legal? Fraudulent, surely?”. Another asked, “Can you be a member of one party & stand for another? Is it not misrepresentation?”.
Five months ago, before another by-election in February, Green claimed to have attempted to resign from the Labour party. Speaking to ForArgyll.com he said: “I am not trying to hide my national politics – I am still a Labour member despite my attempt to resign from Scottish Labour [I got a reply saying it didn’t exist].”
Green also confirmed that he had previously stood as a Labour party candidate.
“In 2014 I stood twice for the Labour Party here. This time I will run again but as an Independent candidate. This isn’t a sudden kneejerk reaction, it was something I first considered in September 2014.”
However the newly elected independent councillor also pledged to resign if his party allegiances changed.
“I have previously said that if elected and later changing my affiliation, I would resign and seek reelection.”
The episode will heighten suspicions that prospective Labour party candidates may try to conceal their party allegiances in next year’s local authority elections to increase their chances of winning. The Labour party in Scotland is facing electoral wipeout after losing all but one of it MPs in the 2015 UK general election and finishing behind the Tories in the recent Holyrood election.
It is not clear if Green now intends to remain a Labour party member or pursue his previous unsuccessful attempt to resign from the party.Views: 11603