THREE directors at a publicly-owned bus firm have been banned from attending a controversial men-only transport industry society.


Edinburgh City Council-owned Lothian Buses' directors Bill Campbell, Bill Devlin and Norman Strachan, who travelled to London for the annual Transport Golfing Society dinner in December, have been advised not to do so again.

Their attendance was paid for by a business client and has been the subject of a review by the firm's new chairman amid fears it was inappropriate.

Operations director Mr Campbell, engineering director Mr Devlin and finance director Mr Strachan, who each earned between £200,000 and £270,000 in 2013, are understood to have agreed not to support the Transport Golfing Society.

Video footage from the previous year shows the directors at that event where the only females there were entertaining or serving.

It comes at a time when such societies and clubs are under pressure to change men-only rules and the Royal and Ancient in St Andrews also moves to allow female members.

Sarah Boyack, Lothians MSP, said yesterday the "tradition" was antiquated and "should be abandoned".

The London-based society said its dinner is "rated as one of the best sporting dinners of the year", adding: "With a great speaker, lusty carol singing, Land of Hope and Glory led by our wonderful sopranos, a glamorous string quartet playing exciting music in even more exciting tight dresses, a troupe of Can Can dancers and all all within a truly fun atmosphere."

Stagecoach tycoon Ann Gloag once attended the male only bastion "by invite".

A spokesman for the society said: "The Transport Golfing Society has never in its 80 year history received an application for membership from a lady golfer involved in the transport industry.

"Many years ago Ann Gloag attended the society's annual dinner as a guest and, within a total attendance of some 700 was asked if she, as the only female present, would be comfortable in the assembly - she agreed that she was and therefore attended the function in the company of her host.

"The society is not in any way discriminatory and continues to operate within the boundaries of its existing membership."

It comes amid growing disquiet over clubs which excluded women.

Former First Minister Alex Salmond boycotted Muirfield Golf Club in East Lothian in 2013 saying its men-only membership "indefensible in the 21st century".

Tony Depledge, chairman of Lothian Buses, said: "This is a long standing industry event that's probably best avoided in future.

"Colleagues attended as guests of a supplier.

"I've reviewed this with the team and can confirm that no one from Lothian Buses will attend in future years."

The news comes as a non-executive director, Marjory Rodger, had a claim the city's transport chief Lesley Hinds overstepped her authority when she took over last year as acting chairman rejected by chief executive Dame Sue Bruce.

Unite the union will today present a petition by workers to the council calling for the resignation Ms Hinds and Tory councillor Jason Rust will raise questions over the handling of the row which centres on the four executive directors, all of whom will leave the firm within the next two years.

A series of leaks revealed the battle between the chief executive, Ian Craig, who was cleared of any wrongdoing after an investigation, and the company's finance, engineering and operations directors.