Wednesday, 18 May 2011

" Council must seek legal opinion on school closure procedure." says SNP Cllr Semple

SNP Liaison Councillor with the Argyll Rural Schools Network (ARSN), John Semple, is calling on Argyll and Bute Council to seek the advice of a QC to ascertain the legality of the current school closure consultations.

“I am seriously concerned for the reputation of the councillors and officers of Argyll and Bute Council in progressing with these consultations, if they undergo legal challenge.”

Council officers have confirmed to Councillor Semple that no advice external to the council’s legal team has been sought on the school closure consultations.

“The consequences of a legal challenge maybe be costly, there is an old tradesman’s adage – measure twice cut once, all I am asking the council to do is seek a second opinion, we do this in the Council regularly where the stakes are high, we use external consultants, why not in this case?”

Councillor Semple’s comments follow the publication of a “letter before action” issued to Argyll & Bute Council earlier this week in relation to the proposed consultation on the closure of Toward School.

“I am calling on my colleagues in the Alliance of Independent Councillors to wash the scales from their eyes, they have consistently held a party line which has been subjective and are now being led by the hand, by the Liberal Democrats on a party political crusade which has spectacularly backfired, there is a new political landscape in Scotland which they must recognise. It is time for the sleepers to awaken or risk the blame themselves for yet further additional cost to the Council in a protracted legal challenge and yet more heartache to the communities involved,”
John Semple
Councillor for Ward l -South Kintyre