THE first council committee meeting chaired by Councillor Ewan Dow

since he was elected Tayside Regional Council's youngest leader ended

amid angry exchanges yesterday, with a senior Tory councillor walking

out before a vote was taken to suspend him.

Mr Dow, 22, clashed with deputy Tory leader Neil Powrie, who insisted

on asking questions about the resignation of Mr Dow's predecessor, Mrs

Lena Graham.

The general purposes sub-committee was meeting in Dundee to consider

technical issues over the by-election in Mrs Graham's Kinross ward,

which is to be held on September 1.

After the meeting Mr Dow said that he was disgusted at Mr Powrie's

conduct and at his personal attacks on the SNP former leader. Mr Powrie

accused Mr Dow of ''extreme immaturity''.

Mrs Graham resigned ''for personal reasons'' from the leadership of

the SNP group, and the council, six weeks after it took over as a

minority administration in Tayside in May.

Mr Powrie walked out of the meeting after Mr Dow, as chairman, said

his attempts to raise the question of Mrs Graham's resignation were out

of order. Mr Dow asked him to sit down on a number of occasions. As Mr

Powrie continued to ask about the resignation, Mr Dow eventually

proposed there should be a vote to suspend him from the meeting.

Afterwards Mr Powrie, who is also the leader of the Tories on Dundee

District Council, said that, instead of answering the serious questions

posed, the chairman had chosen to hide behind standing orders.

The Tory deputy leader also said he suspected that the SNP group were

''split asunder'' and had a great deal to hide over the real reasons for

Mrs Graham's resignation. He believed the people of Kinross in

particular were due an explanation.

''I obviously hit a raw nerve this morning,'' Mr Powrie said. ''It was

a manifestation of Mr Dow's inexperience that he handled the matter in

such an immature way.''

But Mr Dow said that Mr Powrie had been completely out of order. His

conduct had shown little respect for the people of Tayside, and in

particular the people of Kinross who had lost a hard-working councillor.

He added that it was up to Mrs Graham if she had any statement to make.

''I would hope Councillor Powrie can remember that at all times he

should conduct himself with respect and be a competent representative of

the people of Riverside in Dundee,'' Mr Dow said.

Mr Powrie made it clear that he did not intend to let the matter of

Mrs Graham's resignation drop.