Cllr Jackie Burns ‘asked teenage girl to sit on his knee’

Cllr Jackie Burns.
Cllr Jackie Burns.

A senior councillor is facing claims he made sexual gestures to a teenage girl on a bus and asked her to sit on his knee.

South Lanarkshire Council deputy leader Jackie Burns is alleged to have repeatedly stared at the 16-year-old during a journey between Hamilton and Netherburn in Lanarkshire.

Labour politician Burns, 52, faces allegations he made gestures of a sexual nature to the girl on September 18 and attempted to induce her to sit on his leg or beside him.

He is also alleged to have approached another female passenger on the bus and sat beside her and attempted to engage her in conversation.

Burns, of Larkhall, is set to appear at Hamilton Sheriff Court at summary level but made no plea to the alleged offence when the case called this week. He was not in court but is expected to appear later this month.

Burns was suspended by his party when details of allegations emerged.

He represents Larkhall on the Labour-run council and sits on various committees, including social work, planning, recruitment and housing.

He is also the number two to leader Eddie McAvoy, who is not standing for re-election next year.

He is also listed as a board member of NHS Lanarkshire.

Burns used to be a civil servant and also worked in the office of former Labour MP Jimmy Hood as a “communications manager”. He is a member of the Unite trade union.

A South Lanarkshire Council spokesman said: “The council has been informed that councillor Burns has been suspended by his party.

“The council leader has advised that councillor Burns will cease to represent the Labour party on the council while he is suspended.”

Last month a Crown Office spokesman confirmed they had received a report involving Burns.