Tory councillor who called Nicola Sturgeon ‘a drooling hag’ wins top seat on education committee

A Tory councillor struck from the teaching register over offensive tweets about Nicola Sturgeon has been appointed convener of Fife Council’s education scrutiny committee.

Tuesday, 21st June 2022, 3:46 pm

The move infuriated SNP councillors who tried to get Kathleen Leslie’s nomination refused at today’s meeting.

The councillor who represents Burntisland, Kinghorn and Western Kirkcaldy, was at the centre of a storm in 2014 over social media posts in which she referred to the First MInister as “a wee fish wife” and “a drooling hag”.

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Cllr Kathleen Leslie (Pic: Fife Photo Agency)

Ms Leslie was a teacher at the time.She was subsequently removed from the teaching register and waived her right to a full hearing because she no longer wished to continue in the classroom after her election.

She was one of three councillors returned to serve the ward in the May 5 poll.

The appointment sparked more criticism from the SNP which has found itself frozen out of power since failing to form an administration despite being the single biggest party at Fife House with 34 seats - just four short of an overall majority.

It nominated Councillor Alycia Hayes to lead the committee but lost out when Labour, Tory and Lib Dem members backed Cllr Leslie 8-7 in a vote.

Before the roll call vote, Cllr Hayes questioned if Cllr Leslie was an appropriate person to hold the post, but her objection was rejected by officers.

Craig Walker, the SNP’s spokesman on education said the appointment “beggars belief.”

And he added: “It is entirely inappropriate that someone who had been suspended by the General Teaching Council should now head up the council's education scrutiny committee.

“Such is the Labour Party in Fife's desperation to retain power that it is willing to support what most voters will find unpalatable. “

The SNP said there had now been 27 votes at meetings where the three parties had aligned to defeat the SNP.

He added: “Labour should now give up the insulting premise that it is a minority administration and admit this is a coalition administration and despite its pre-election promises, it is more than happy to work with and support the Tories"