THE SNP Group on Argyll and Bute Council has hit out at the council’s administration for failing to back an inquiry into the case of independent Dunoon councillor Mike Breslin, who was cleared on 14 out of 15 complaints made about him by four senior officers.

Breslin alleged that the four officials made their complaints to the Commissioner for Ethical Standards in Public Life in order to silence him when he started asking questions about controversial issues such as the safety of Rothesay Harbour and the sale of Castle Toward School.

At Thursday’s council meeting, the Council voted by a majority to take no further action against Breslin on the fact that he was censured over just one complaint, but also rejected a call for an independent inquiry into the matter.

The council heard a long statement from Cleland Sneddon, chief executive of the council, but copies of that statement were not available. The SNP Group issued a statement saying that at “the meeting of the full council, Argyll and Bute’s SNP Council Group publicly called for an independent review of the action recently taken by a group of Argyll and Bute Council Officers against Cllr Michael Breslin.

“The SNP proposal attracted full support of all opposition groups on the Council and, after heated debate in the chamber, was voted down unanimously by the ruling group of Councillors.”

Sandy Taylor, SNP Council Group Leader said: “Michael Breslin is elected to serve the people of Cowal and works vigorously on behalf of his community. We feel that it’s of vital importance that the Council learns from this experience and therefore called for an external, independent review of the circumstances leading to the decision to refer a fellow Councillor to the Standards Commissioner.”

Fellow Cowal Councillor, Gordon Blair said: “The Commission decision in Michael’s case – to vindicate him in all but one alleged breach – has the potential to significantly change the whole basis of member-officer relations in Councils and other public bodies across Scotland.

“We are disappointed that the administration did not respond positively to our call for an independent review and report, which would have made recommendations on how we could better address any problems in member-officer relations in the future.”

Breslin told The National: “Argyll & Bute Council dug itself in deeper yesterday by rejecting a common sense motion from the SNP Group that was supported by all but one of the opposition councillors.

“On a day when vitriol won over fair play I was left deeply disappointed by the attitudes displayed.

“The chief executive started by making a long statement which may have contained inaccuracies but as I don’t as yet have a written version, I can’t make further comment. I have asked him today to let me see it before it gets wider distribution.”

The National understands that Sneddon is willing to make public his statement at a later date.