The Scottish Government has been asked to step in over claims Stirling Council’s committee structure is “crooked”.
The SNP is the local authority’s largest political group with nine councillors. However, Labour’s eight councillors joined with four Conservative councillors to form a coalition administration after the last election.
The two parties have since taken the largest share of places on committees set up to scrutinise council policy.
The SNP’s deputy leader on the council, Steven Paterson, insists the administration has “dispensed with any semblance of proportionality” and urged the local government minister Derek Mackay to intervene using legislation available in England.
In a letter to the MSP, seen by The Courier, Mr Paterson points to four committees which include four councillors from the administration, but only two from the SNP group.
He writes: “I am aware that legislation requiring political balance has been in force in England and Wales for many years, but has not been enforced in Scotland could I ask that you give consideration to enacting whatever measures are necessary to force this local authority to reflect the proportionality of political parties as determined by the people in elections?”
Speaking to The Courier, Mr Paterson said: “The council’s committees are supposed to undertake the important role of scrutinising the policy and performance of the administration, but these crooked committees are overwhelmingly weighted in the administration’s favour, making effective scrutiny impossible.”
The council’s deputy leader John Hendry hit back by accusing the SNP of “navel gazing”.
“In opposition they have nothing of any substance to offer to the people of Stirling on the things that matter,” the Labour councillor said.
“We have simply followed the SNP Scottish Government’s lead where they have an overall majority in all 14 scrutiny committees.”
Conservative councillor Neil Benny, the administration’s deputy leader, said: “Perhaps if (Councillor Paterson) acted more like an elected representative and a little less like a wee boy in primary five, he would get to sit on more committees.”