CONFUSION surrounds the position of controversial Councillor Gordon Beurskens in the current council administration.
The SNP have a two-seat majority on West Lothian Council thanks to the support of Councillor Beurskens and his fellow hospital campaigners and Conservative Provost Tom Kerr.
Councillor Beurskens officially stepped down from positions he held within West Lothian Council in April last year after he was charged with alleged offences under the Public Bodies Corrupt Practices Act, following a 16-month investigation into alleged planning irregularities. He denies the charges.
However the Action to Save St John’s councillor was believed to still be part of the administration and offered his support to the SNP in crucial budget votes as recently as two weeks ago.
But at a recent council meeting it was claimed by SNP Councillor Greg McCarra that the Whitburn Councillor was no longer a part of the administration.
Now West Lothian Council Labour Group are calling for clarity over the composition of the ruling council administration.
Councillor John McGinty said: “The whole meeting was stunned by the claim that Councillor Beurskens was not a member of the ruling administration. He certainly was a few short days ago when he seconded a motion from the SNP led administration to increase council rents.
“The ruling group seem to be having something of an identity crisis and I am calling on the SNP Leader Peter Johnston to say categorically whether Councillor Beurskens is in his ruling administration or not.”
Council leader Peter Johnston claimed Labour already knew that Councillor Beurskens had removed his support from the administration before Christmas, something Councillor McGinty denied.
Councillor Johnston said: “I am a bit surprised at their surprise to be honest. I understand Councillor Beurskens copied them in on an e-mail in which he formally resigned from the council administration before Christmas.
“Why are they asking questions when they already know the answers is beyond me.
“There is no document that lists the members of the administration and the deal we have with the Action to Save St John’s councillors is they will support SNP appointments and support our budget. On everything else they have a free vote.
“I am delighted that Councillor Beurskens saw fit to support excellent proposals from the council and we are happy for him to continue to do that.
“In terms of future participation his Action to Save St John’s Group colleagues are very much part of the administration and we look forward to working with them.
“Gordon has already stepped down from all the positions he held in the council due to the allegations made against him and we all thought that was appropriate and the honourable thing to do.
“I think this is all froth from the Labour Party and if they think this is the most important thing to spend their time they are letting down the community.”
However Councillor Johnston said the hospital campaigner continued to attend administration group meetings and was happy for him to do so.
And the waters were mudded further when Councillor Beurskens said the claims he was not part of the administration were “utter nonsense”.
“I’m still part of the administration unless someone knows something I don’t,” Councillor Beurskens said.
“I continue to support the administration and that’s where I continue to see myself.
“I don’t know why Councillor McCarra felt he needed to say that. The whole thing has left me puzzled.”