Council leader quits over backlash from Legoland trip

Cllr Martin Kitts-Hayes refused to stay at the Legoland resort in Denmark. Picture: Contributed

Cllr Martin Kitts-Hayes refused to stay at the Legoland resort in Denmark. Picture: Contributed

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A Scottish council leader who stormed out of his Danish digs during a trade trip after branding the accommodation a “glorified shed” has resigned.

Martin Kitts-Hayes likened the Legoland Holiday Village in Billund to “Butlins in the 1970s” and refused to spend the night in his wild west themed cabin.

The Aberdeenshire Council co-leader had been due to attend the North Sea Commission in June along with colleagues SNP councillor David Aitchison and the European policy and programme manager Martin Brebner.

• READ MORE: Scots councillor ‘compared Legoland cabin to Butlins in 1970s’

However, a furious Mr Kitts-Hayes demanded alternative accommodation be found for him within hours of checking in at the resort.

When his PA failed to find a suitable hotel nearby, the group decided to “act as one” and ditched the conference to fly back to Scotland – leaving council taxpayers footing a £3,000 bill.

Now the Inverurie-based councillor has announced he will stand down next month in the wake of scathing criticism. In a statement he said he had tendered his resignation after realising he no longer had the full support of the administration.

He said he had made a poor decision and that he regretted any “upset” caused by his actions. But he defended his previous assertion that the story had only come out in public due to an employee leaking it to the press.

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He rejected claims he had caused any reputational damage to the council.

He added: “I recognise that my decision has been an unnecessary distraction and has disrupted the smooth running of the council. I have already stated that on reflection it was a poor decision and of course I regret any upset that I have caused.”

The actions of Mr Kitts-Hayes were revealed last week in an official report, which was leaked to the press after being seen in private by councillors earlier this month.

The report, by council business services director Ritchie Johnson, was ordered by council chief executive Jim Savage. It found that Mr Kitts-Hayes was “unequivocal in his insistence” that alternative accommodation be found or he would fly home. The report stated: “The standard of accommodation fell well below the expectations of Councillor Kitts-Hayes.”

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