Cllr Martin Ford, Aberdeenshire Council

I have met Martin Ford on only a few occasions but he has always struck me as an able and committed local councillor. He has, in my view, been treated dreadfully badly by those Aberdeenshire councillors who failed to support him today.

I simply do not have enough local knowledge of that part of Aberdeenshire to form a reasoned view as to the merits of the Trump Organisation’s proposals but to remove a Committee Chair simply for having an opinion that is different from your own is quite frankly utterly disgraceful.

If you follow that stupid logic, all elected members must always support the officers’ recommendation on planning applications or face the sack. If this applied in Dundee, as one of the more vocal councillors on planning matters in defending his constituents’ interests in the West End, I wouldn’t last five minutes. Thankfully, our own authority continues to accept the right to disagree, to question, to complain on planning matters. Long may that continue.

On the subject of the First Minister’s role, I think it is summed up by Nicol Stephen’s comments:

“These meetings raise serious questions about the First Minister’s judgment and whether he acted appropriately.
“The First Minister has a clear conflict of interest and should have played no role in the planning process.
“His actions have been at best unwise and are potentially seriously prejudicial. The sooner the First Minister makes the position clear with a full statement of the facts the better.
“He needs to come clean about his discussions with the Trump Organisation and senior civil servants.”