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SNP Accuse South Lanarkshire Council
East Kilbride SNP have accused South Lanarkshire Council of Labour bias in the run up to the General Election.
SNP members launched a scathing attack on the local authority after spotting Labour campaign posters plastered across the windows of Michael McCann’s office at East Kilbride Civic Centre.
Social media erupted with voters and political opponents accusing South Lanarkshire Council of an “outrageous demonstration of political bias”, claiming that the action was in breach of electoral law.
Labour candidate Michael McCann was accused of abusing the democratic process.
The SNP Group called on the council’s Chief Executive and Returning Officer for the Westminster election, Lindsay Freeland, to justify the use of space within council offices as campaign headquarters for Michael McCann.
SNP leader Anne Maggs said: “This is an outrage and an abuse of the democratic process. We expect the Chief Executive to deal with this immediately and as a matter of urgency.”
However South Lanarkshire Council confirmed to the News that Mr McCann was not breaking any rules by displaying the posters at his former constituency office.
A spokesman said: “The council rents accommodation to Michael McCann in the same way that it has at times rented accommodation to politicians of different political parties.
“After discussions with the Electoral Commission our legal advice is that the council is not in breach of electoral law as a result of these posters being displayed.”
But the SNP are refusing to accept the council’s response and, after seeking legal advice on the matter, maintain that the council is in breach of the Local Government Act.
They argued that last year as Returning Officer for the Independence Referendum, Lindsay Freeland ruled that a ‘YES’ sign be removed from outside the Civic Centre as it might imply that the council was supporting independence.
However, the council stated that the same rules do not apply for the General Election.
In response to the outcry, Michael McCann said: “The rules allow constituency offices to be used, in part or in full, for political purposes during the General Election campaign.
“I emailed South Lanarkshire Council before the dissolution of Parliament and cleared the arrangements with the chief executive’s office. All the arrangements are perfectly in order.
“However, what it does tell us is this: while the Labour Party is campaigning on the streets of East Kilbride about our creaking NHS, new homes and jobs for our youngsters, the SNP are only interested in Labour posters in my campaign office window.
“It tells you everything you need to know.”