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Councillor wants inquiry into 'threats'

Published on 13 February 2012

AN ex-Labour councillor has called for a full-scale inquiry into her allegations she was intimidated by a former colleague during last week's crucial budget vote in Glasgow.

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Former party loyalist Anne Marie Millar last night told The Herald that despite repeated claims by Labour that the allegations would be fully investigated, no-one has been in contact four days after the incident.

She has claimed Labour's Gilbert Davidson threatened her disabled son's job at the council-owned quango City Building if she did not vote with the administration during last Thursday's unprecedented showdown at Glasgow City Chambers.

Her call comes as it emerged several people within the group of disaffected former Labour councillors de-selected by the party last autumn are planning to start a rival party to field candidates in May's election.

The party, which if it materialises could split the Labour vote in some areas, is provisionally calling itself Glasgow Labour, with the plans spearheaded by Tommy Morrison.

However, Labour sources said "any attempt to mislead voters by using the Labour Party name and branding would be robustly challenged".

Mrs Millar, who announced her decision to quit Labour and stand as an independent 24-hours before the crunch budget, said: "As I have not had any contact to date from the Labour Party or Glasgow City Council regarding this matter I have sent an email to the Lord Provost Robert Winters, Gordon Matheson, the leader of the council, and chief executive George Black formally asking that a full investigation is carried out by the city council and Labour Party as I think that four days after the incident having happened someone officially should have been in contact."

Former Glasgow LibDem leader Dr Christopher Mason is understood to have begun moves to investigate the claims of strong-arm tactics at the scrutiny committee he runs.

Mr Matheson said it was "unforgivable" the Labour rebels who voted with the opposition had "put petty politics ahead of the good of Glasgow".

However, Mrs Millar said: "What is a disgrace and unforgivable is Gordon Matheson has failed to publicly address my claims of the pressure I was put under last week."

She also said that after Labour won the budget vote she shouted at Mr Davidson in the council chamber asking was her son's job safe." She added: "He responded by saying he hoped we wouldn't fall out."

A Labour spokesman said an investigation into Mrs Millar's allegations was already underway and the party would be in contact.

A senior Labour source said: "If Tommy Morrison thinks he's the new Keir Hardie, he's got another thing coming. These guys were deselected by their own party members, lost the vote on the budget, and are now away in a huff."

Meanwhile, the SNP yesterday, sought to exploit Labour's divisions further, pointing out Scottish leader Johann Lamont's constituency is "at the centre of Labour's meltdown". Four of six rebel councillors represent wards in Glasgow Pollok.

Humza Yousaf, Glasgow SNP MSP, said: "How can Johann Lamont hope to run the opposition when she can't even stop the civil war in her own constituency party?"

Mr Davidson was unavailable for comment.

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