the Herald Glasgow

Glasgow City Council rapped over ghost-written article in Glasgow Life magazine

By Hamish Mackay

October 14, 2011 | 2 min read

Glasgow City Council has been criticised by watchdogs over an article which was carried in its magazine – Glasgow Life.

However, according to a report in The Herald today, the council’s leader, Gordon Matheson, has been cleared over a breach of ethics because the article in question had been ghost-written for him.

Matheson escaped censure over allegations he used public resources for self-promotion and party political gain.

The Herald reports: “Although it has no jurisdiction on the matter, the Standards Commission also criticised the city council and Glasgow Life for breaking the law over the publication of an article in its magazine criticising SNP Government minister John Swinney in the run-up to May’s election.

“The Local Government Act 1986 prohibits a local authority from publishing material which appears to be designed to support a political party.”

According to The Herald, Glasgow City Council’s SNP opposition, which raised the complaint, said the decision was an indication of Matheson’s style of leadership and demanded assurances to “stop repeated failures”.

In the February/March edition of the Glasgow Life magazine, distributed to 300,000 households across the city, Matheson was quoted criticising John Swinney over the local government financial settlement the city received.

A complaint from the SNP led to the edition’s withdrawal.

The Herald points out: ”The Public Standards Commissioner for Scotland, Stuart Allen, said the comments represented a ‘political attack’ but were drawn from public comments made by Mr Matheson and complied by officers ‘on what they deemed he would wish to say from their knowledge of his stance on the topic and their contact with him’.”

The paper quotes the SNP’s Graeme Hendry as saying: “That the council has allowed itself to breach the Local Government Act 1986 is in itself worrying but to find out the leader of the council has so little grasp on what happens he doesn’t even know when the Act is being broken in his name is disturbing.”

The Herald reports Glasgow Life as saying: “We have already implemented changes with regard to issues raised.”

the Herald Glasgow

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