Questions raised over Kirkcaldy’s ‘invisible’ councillor

Cllr Morrison could not be contacted
Cllr Morrison could not be contacted

Concerns have been raised over an SNP councillor’s ability to serve his constituency - because he lives and works in Austria, it is claimed.

Cllr Arthur Morrison, who represents Kirkcaldy East, draws a salary of £16,234 but in 2013/14 turned up to just seven of 47 committee meetings for which he is a member.

Since April 1 this year, he has attended only two more.

The information came to light after a disillusioned SNP member claimed Cllr Morrison did not conduct surgeries and was contactable only by e-mail because he works in Austria, where he operates a self-employed business.

On Cllr Morrison’s Fife Direct web page a Kirkcaldy address is listed and an Edinburgh telephone number.

The Press attempted to contact him through various channels - including email - but all met with no response.

Cllr Kay Carrington, who also represents the ward, revealed: “Around 20 per cent of calls to me are by people who have failed to reach him.”

However, according to Fife Council, councillors are only required by law to attend one meeting in a six month period.

Linda Bissett, democratic services senior manager, said: “Cllr Morrison has met this requirement so we are not investigating the issue.”

Cllr Morrison attended one of 13 Kirkcaldy Area Committee meetings held since April 1, 2013, a record which was “sparse to say the least” said chairman Cllr Neil Crooks, when asked to comment.

He added: “I want to make it abundantly clear that Fife Council’s minimum expectations are nowhere near enough of a commitment for a councillor to have, particularly now they are on a salary.”

“There should be a duty on councillors, once elected, to perform as the public would expect them to.

“I understand Cllr Morrison has business interests abroad and these may not have existed before he was elected.

He concluded: “Given the response from the leader of the SNP in Fife, there must be concerns that people in Kirkcaldy east ward are not being served adequately and I look forward to the outcome of the deliberations of the SNP group.”

Official response from Fife Council and SNP:

Fife Council: “Councillors are elected by the public and are therefore answerable to the elctorate. Anyone who has a concern about the work of their local councillor should contact them directly.”

SNP: “Any complaint about the performance of an SNP councillor will be investigated in accordance with the SNP’s agreed procedures.”