Council leader statement on ‘spying’ claims

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ARGYLL and Bute Council leader Dick Walsh has spoken for the first time on claims that a senior official from the authority used covert social media accounts to monitor the activities of the authority’s critics.

Councillor Walsh said on Tuesday: “These are serious allegations into which a thorough investigation has been launched.

“I would like to categorically state that this organisation has never, and would never, condone the sort of practice around which the allegations centre.

“I will of course be seeking regular updates on the progress of the investigation and await its outcome with interest.”

The council’s communications manager, Jo Smith, was suspended on Friday following initial reports that day of a speech she made at a social media conference in September.

Chief executive, Sally Loudon, told councillors later that day that the investigation into the reports would be carried out by someone independent of the authority.