Labour embroiled in 'chicken curry row' over budget protest walkout

Glasgow's Labour group walked out of the City Chambers in a protest over the local authority's budget plans, only to return for lunch.

Glasgow Labour embroiled in ‘chicken curry row’ over budget protest walkout STV News

Glasgow Labour councillors’ walk-out protest at yesterday’s budget meeting has seen them criticised on social media – after the council leader claimed they “prioritised” chicken curry day in the cafe.

Labour refused to attend the budget meeting on Thursday and left the City Chambers as the meeting started in protest at the scale of cuts seen to the city’s budget.

It left the SNP administration agreeing to find savings of £49m to close the budget gap. A further £40m is estimated to be cut from health and social care services.

Labour left the building at 11am on Thursday morning to support the dozens of trade unionists who had also turned up to oppose the budget cuts. Conservative and Green councillors also walked out of the meeting to make a stand against the proposed budget. 

The protest ended around 1pm however, and council leader Susan Aitken tweeted: “They’ve come back in for their lunch though. It is chicken curry day in the cafe, after all. Priorities.”

This sparked a backlash from Labour councillors and MSPs who said Labour had in fact returned to their offices to help their communities. 

Councillor John Carson tweeted: “Glasgow Labour councillors have returned to their offices to help our communities cope with years of SNP cuts: 

“Education – cut by £4m 

“Swimming Pools – cut by £1m 

“Tax up by 5%, and charges on brown bin collections. 

“SNP Glasgow – Pay more, get less.”

Meanwhile, councillor Eunis Jassemi responded to councillor Aitken, saying: “You and your party just voted through the biggest cuts the council has ever seen in its history, and you come up with this guff? SNP stronger for Glasgow? Not a chance. #priorities”

MSP Paul Sweeney added: “In the last decade, @scotgov has cut Glasgow’s budget by half a billion pounds despite their own budget growing, meaning @GlasgowCC can no longer deliver core services like social work. I am proud to stand with @Labour_GCC outside the City Chambers as they say enough is enough.

“SNP literally just voted through the biggest cuts to Glasgow City Council in its history, and this is the chat. I don’t know what they’re stronger for, but it’s not Glasgow.”

During the meeting, SNP councillors appeared unimpressed with Labour’s lack of attendance.

Councillor Ruairi Kelly tweeted a selfie with empty Labour benches in the background. He said: “Selfie with all the Glasgow Labour councillors doing their job.”

Councillor Allan Casey also shared a picture of the empty seats and said: “A missing opposition and a dereliction of duty.”

SNP councillor Graham Campbell tweeted: “On budget day not only are Labour not even putting forward a budget – they’re too feart to even turn up. Pathetic abdication of their duty as elected representatives to set a budget and decide spending on Glasgow’s vital public services.”

Glasgow’s Labour group retaliated saying “they would not stand for more cuts.”

They tweeted: “@SNPforGlasgow can pass the worst budget settlement the city has ever faced, we’ll stand up for Glasgow.

“We’ve had enough words, it’s time for action. For a fairer, stronger, cleaner Glasgow.”

And MSP Pam Duncan-Glancey added: “Proud to stand with @AnasSarwar @PaulJSweeney @Labour_GCC @ChrisMGMB @GMBGlasgowCC and the people of Glasgow against the deadly cuts to the city’s budget.

“Council colleagues were right to walk out of the budget. Enough is enough. We won’t stand for it.”

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