Labour MP MP brands Mike Russell a ‘bully’

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EDUCATION secretary Mike Russell has been accused of trying to “bully and intimidate” staff working in Scotland’s college sector.

It emerged at the weekend that Mr Russell called on the chairman of Glasgow’s Stow College, Kirk Ramsay, to consider his position after a private conversation about college reforms was recorded and distributed.

Speaking in Holyrood yesterday, Labour education spokesman Hugh Henry said staff are “frightened to speak out” against Mr Russell, calling him a “bully” and citing the dispute with Mr Ramsay as evidence.

Mr Russell replied that most of his meetings with the college sector are positive and said Mr Ramsay was wrong to record their meeting.

He said he had “no power to demand any individual’s resignation”, as ministers’ power of direction over the college sector was removed by the previous 
Labour Scottish Executive.

Mr Russell said: “The Scottish Government believes that the college sector, like any other, needs to be led and governed by people of the highest quality and standards. Chief amongst their attributes must always be mutual trust and respect.

“The Scottish Government expects all those who lead and govern our colleges to conduct themselves in a way that was consistent with that approach.”

Mr Russell did not take up Mr Henry’s offer to publicly apologise to Mr Ramsay.