Councillor’s bid to join SAt Andrews Golf Links Trust falls foul of rules

A bid to appoint a councillor to sit on St Andrews Links Trust had to be re-thought after it emerged he was excluded.
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St Andrews’ Tory councillor, Robin Lawson, was in line to join the organisation until a query was raised at today’s meeting of Fife Council.

It ended up with a recess and then a vote to find a replacement, at which a number of councillors also abstained.

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Cllr Lawson’s membership of the R&A ultimately ruled him ineligible - and the post went to the SNP’s Councillor Ann Verner instead.

Picture Michael GillenPicture Michael Gillen
Picture Michael Gillen

The issue arose at a meeting of the full council, and had officers checking records to find out if Cllr Lawson could be appointed.

He was nominated by fellow Tory councillor, Kathleen Leslie, and seemed set to be rubber-stamped for the three-year tenure when Councillor John Beare raised a point of order.

He said the 1974 act bars the local authority from appointing councillors who are also members of the R&A.

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Mr Lawson confirmed he was “a member of the Royal & Ancient Golf Club, but not a member of the R&A which is a commercial organisation” - and he did not believe the link should result in him being disqualified from sitting on the trust.

But after a short recess to check the rules, Cllr Lawson found himself bunkered.

Officers confirmed he was in the excluded category, and councillors eventually voted to appoint Cllr Verner ahead of Councillor Jane Anne Liston by 33 votes to 10. A total of 28 councillors abstained.