Aberdeen hit by vote-rigging accusations

22 Aug 02
Aberdeen City Council has been shaken by allegations of vote-rigging over the planning application for a new football stadium.

23 August 2002

The row revolves around former Labour councillor David Maitland, who resigned from his position and was suspended from his party last week amid accusations that he had attempted to influence members of the council's planning committee. This week, police were called in to investigate the allegations.

Maitland's departure leaves the council precariously balanced. The Labour administration and the opposition now both have 21 seats. If Labour loses the by-election for Maitland's Newhills ward it would lose overall control of the council.

Liberal Democrat councillor Scott Cassie said Maitland contacted him on August 7 before the council's planning committee met to discuss Aberdeen Football Club's application for a £30m stadium and sporting centre on greenfield land in Kingswells.

Cassie said Maitland asked how he was going to vote and made a 'thinly veiled threat' over the success of planning permission for a sports centre in Cassie's own Garthdee ward if the football stadium did not get the green light. The committee went on to vote 10-4 in favour of the stadium.

LibDem councillor Matthew Duncan then secretly recorded Maitland allegedly discussing his offer of a deal with Cassie.

Duncan, who works as an assistant to MSP Mike Rumbles, the chair of the Scottish Parliament's standards committee, was unrepentant over the covert taping. 'I think that my actions have been vindicated,' he said.

A spokesman for Aberdeen City Council refused to comment. The council approved the planning application on August 21.


Did you enjoy this article?