Lord Provost Eva Bolander resigns after expenses row
Politicians used to hang their heads in shame when they were caught up in anything that was embarrassing and which reflected badly on their party.
Now, it appears, at least with the SNP, that there is a new protocol which involves putting on your civic chain and parading yourself before the people who elected you, announcing your resignation and being applauded from the floor of the chamber.
The Lord Provost of Glasgow, Eva Bolander, who spent £200 on a hat in one of ther most deprived cities in Europe, has claimed it is in Glasgow’ss “best interests” for her to resign after a controversy over her expenses.
Ms Bolander faced criticism after claiming £8,000 worth of items, including 23 pairs of shoes.
In a speech delivered to the City Chambers, Ms Bolander said that while her spending was “within the rules”, she “apologised unreservedly”.
She said her resignation would be effective immediately.
Ms Bolander had faced calls for her resignation after details of the expenses emerged earlier this month.
- Civic leader claimed 23 pairs of shoes on expenses
She told councillors on Thursday: “I am grateful for having been given the opportunity to represent Glasgow and all its communities and people.
“But it is with the city’s best interest at heart that I am resigning with effect from after this statement.”
Ms Bolander thanked civic staff and colleagues who had “always done their utmost to ensure that I could perform my duties.”
She added: “Glasgow is a fantastic city, a city emerging on a global scale and I am proud to have played a small part in that.
“I will continue to represent my constituents for the best for them and to work for the best for Glasgow and for the best for Scotland.”
The first minister thanked Ms Bolander “for her service” as provost and as an SNP councillor.
Scandalously, she has been defended by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon who tweeted: “Eva Bolander was brave enough to recognise mistakes – but the fact is she was a good Lord Provost who served Glasgow with grace and dignity. “As a resident and representative of the city, I thank her for her service.”
When details of her expense claims first emerged, Ms Bolander previously apologised and committed to repay some of the money.
Her expenses were obtained by the Daily Record under a Freedom of Information request. The claims were made between May 2017 and August this year.
The paper reported Ms Bolander spent £1,150 on shoes, including a single order for two pairs from company Sole Bliss, which cost £308.
The Lord Provost’s expenses also included £389 for Harris Tweed fabric, about £992 for 14 dresses and £435 for seven blazers. She was quickly dubbed the new Imelda Marcos.
Ms Bolander – who earned £39,310 as provost- had her nails done 20 times and claimed for 10 hair appointments totalling £751.
The most expensive items were a pair of £358 spectacles and £200 hat from milliner William Chambers.
The council previously issued a statement which recognised that the Lord Provost was required “to represent their city at hundreds of events”, which often incurred extra expenses.
It explained that for this reason, each council was allocated a civic allowance by the Scottish government.
The civic allowance, which was introduced by the Scottish Local Authorities Remuneration Committee, replaced the clothing allowance and reflects a councillor’s public profile.
In West Dunbartonshire, some councillors, such as SNP Group leader Jonathan McColl, appear reticent about meeting the public.
He said recently when he came near the bottom of a league table for holding surgeries that they were of little or no value.
He is the same councillor who appears to think that Freedom of the Press is out-dated and democracy is a thing of the past.