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Shock as Twitter troll Angus councillor Derek Wann takes up opposition leader’s role

Arbroath councillor Derek Wann was re-elected to the Arbroath East and Lunan seat earlier this month.
Arbroath councillor Derek Wann was re-elected to the Arbroath East and Lunan seat earlier this month.

Political opponents have slammed Twitter troll Angus Tory councillor Derek Wann after he emerged as the opposition leader on the new Angus Council.

The authority met for the first time in Forfar on Tuesday.

After five years of a Conservative/Independent coalition, the council has returned to an SNP-led administration.

Last year, Mr Wann was unmasked as the figure behind a vitriolic account on the social media platform.

The anonymous (Lady Whistledown) AngusFreeofSNP profile targeted local and national political rivals.

It was branded “misogynistic and transphobic”.

Remained part of previous ruling group

Mr Wann resigned as Angus children and learning convener but clung on to his place in the then Conservative/Independent administration.

He was returned to the Arbroath East and Lunan seat at May’s Scottish elections.

And the disgraced figure – who faces a Standards Commission hearing into his conduct next month – now leads the opposition on the new council.

It is made up of the authority’s eight Conservative councillors as well as Independents Tommy Stewart, Ian McLaren and former council leader David Fairweather.

Angus Council
The new Angus Council met for the first time on Tuesday. Pic: Kim Cessford/DCT Media.

Councillor Craig Fotheringham remains leader of the Angus Conservative group.

Mr Wann’s appearance as the opposition leader in the online broadcast of the first full council meeting was immediately condemned.

Former administration colleague’s anger

Angus and Mearns Liberal Democrats convener Ben Lawrie was a Lady Whistledown target before resigning from the previous administration amidst claims of an “unhealthy culture” at the top of the ruling group.

He failed to be re-elected to the Monifieth and Sidlaw ward on May 6.

Mr Lawrie said: “Scotland has had enough bitterness and division.

“Politicians should be striving to raise the standard of public debate, not plumbing the depths like Councillor Wann.

Ben Lawrie
Ben Lawrie failed to gain re-election to Angus Council. Pic Paul Reid

“If this is the best that the Scottish Conservatives can do then they are clearly in more trouble than even we suspected.

“It’s clear that the rot in the Conservative party runs from top to bottom.

“Angus needs politicians who are focused on local services and tackling the cost of living crisis, not slagging off political rivals and neighbouring towns online.”

Scottish Lib Dems leader Alex Cole Hamilton previously said he considered the Arbroath councillor unfit for public office.

‘Beyond parody’

And SNP MSP Graeme Dey said: “This really is beyond parody.

“The past 24 hours have proved beyond any doubt that from top to bottom the Tories are a party without any standards and without any shame – whether it be disgraced local councillors like Derek Wann or the law breaking Prime Minister, Boris Johnson.

“It is clear that Derek Wann shouldn’t have even been allowed to stand for the Tory party after the abhorrent things he expressed on Twitter, let alone be the leader of the Angus Tory group.

“Whilst Douglas Ross struggles to maintain any authority within his own party, we are left to suffer toxic Tory politicians like Cllr Wann and Boris Johnson that he refuses to stand up to – people of Scotland deserve better.”

A local Conservative source said: “Ben Lawrie and the Lib Dems were overwhelmingly rejected at the polls in Angus.

“Their nasty and vindictive brand of politics won’t be missed – but it only took two hours for that ugliness to rear its head.

“When it comes to using social media, including the unauthorised use of council and copyrighted materials during the election campaign, Graeme Dey should get the SNP’s house in order before his brass neck tarnishes.”

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