Frank McAveety to replace Gordon Matheson as Glasgow leader

Frank McAveety will replace Gordon Matheson as head of Glasgow City Council's ruling Labour group. Picture: John Devlin
Frank McAveety will replace Gordon Matheson as head of Glasgow City Council's ruling Labour group. Picture: John Devlin
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FORMER health minister Frank McAveety will be installed as the new leader of Glasgow City Council tomorrow.

The 53-year-old won the contest to head up the Labour group in the city yesterday and will be formally be installed at a full meeting of councillors.

He replaces Gordon Matheson, who stood down after failing to win the contest to become Labour’s deputy leader in Scotland.

Mr McAveety said: “There is nothing prouder than being given the opportunity to lead my home city.

“At all times, I will be pressing the case for what’s best for Glasgow.

“The city has given me everything in life and I will work tirelessly for the benefit of its people. The council’s focus will continue to be on education and job creation. We will attempt to be a shield for the vulnerable and the creator of opportunity for all.”

He defeated Malcolm Cunning by 24 votes to 19 to become Labour leader in Glasgow. Mr McAveety was previously leader of the council in the 1990s before being elected to the inaugural Scottish Parliament.

Mr McAveety is the Labour candidate for the Glasgow Shettleston constituency for next year’s Holyrood election, but is now expected to give up his candidacy.

He served as deputy minister for local government, deputy minister for health and community care and minister for tourism, culture and sport in the early years of devolution.

But his time at Holyrood was dogged by controversy. He was at the centre of the infamous “porky pie-gate” row when he turned up late for a question time session in Parliament and claimed to have been “unavoidably detained” at a book awards ceremony. But he had been spotted eating a meal in the nearby canteen and was forced to apologise for misleading Parliament. Then First Minister Jack McConnell axed him in a cabinet reshuffle four months later.

He was also forced to quit as convenor of the petitions committee in 2010 after being overheard on his microphone making inappropriate comments about a female in the public gallery.

The SNP group leader in Glasgow Susan Aitken said: “It is a mark of Labour’s fall in Glasgow that they have elected as leader a politician rejected by the people of Shettleston in 2011. We know, because he has been selected to stand again in that constituency, that leading the city is Frank’s second choice, at best. Glasgow deserves better than that.”