We don't want to look like that.. use these snaps instead
NOW AND THEN: Marilyn MacLaren, Jenny Dawe and George Grubb have all had new photos taken to replace older images
SENIOR city councillors have posed for professional photographs in an apparent attempt to stop "unflattering" pictures of them appearing in the Evening News.
The council's in-house photographer has taken new pictures of leader Jenny Dawe, Lord Provost George Grubb and education leader Marilyne MacLaren.
Insiders at the City Chambers claim the move is a response to recent snaps by the Evening News, particularly of Councillor MacLaren, which caused frustration among council leaders.
The new photos were sent with an accompanying note from a PR official, who said she would "appreciate" if these pictures could be used from now on.
The News' picture desk also received a call from the council's press office asking for the old pictures to be deleted.
An interview with Cllr MacLaren in February carried a series of pictures of the education chief in various states of distress, reflecting on the abuse she received from parents opposed to the school closure plans.
Council chiefs today insisted the pictures were taken as a response to requests from media outlets, but Labour group leader Ewan Aitken said he was "stunned" by the request from the council.
Referring to an infamous comment from Cllr Dawe during a debate over controversial plans to bring back ceremonial council robes, he said: "They wouldn't want the 'hoi polloi' to see them as they really are, would they?"
Tory councillor Alastair Paisley added: "This is a bit of a joke. We all got our pictures taken just after the election, what is wrong with those ones? Surely the administration should have more important things to worry about.
"Obviously all politicians are not adverse to getting in pictures but this seems a bit much."
The Lib Dems came under fire from Labour last year when they were accused of using internal council magazines as a promotional tool for the political party.
The December issue of Involve, a publicly-funded magazine distributed to more than 4000 social workers, home helps and other care staff, was reported to have eight pictures of Lib Dem councillors – three of leader Jenny Dawe, two each of health and social care chief Paul Edie and Lord Provost George Grubb, and one of education leader Marilyne MacLaren. A previous edition attracted criticism after featuring six different pictures of Councillor Edie.
Isabell Reid, head of communications at the city council, said: "New pictures of several senior councillors were taken as a response to requests from media outlets.
"Our in-house photographer regularly updates our photo library and this is the first time we have done so since the election.
"It's normal practice for images to be sent to media so that we can cut down on the amount of requests received."