THE political future of North Lanarkshire Council’s Labour leader Jim Logue will be decided at a special meeting of the council in the next fortnight.

Airdrie Central councillor Logue is currently under investigation after complaints of fraud and corruption were made to Police Scotland about his conduct while director of arms-length external organisation North Lanarkshire Leisure.

The council’s SNP Group has formally requested a special meeting of the council to hear a motion calling for Logue to step aside as leader until police complete their inquiry.

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After The National revealed concerns over a claimed cover up of “secret” audit reports into the matter, the meeting will also deal with a motion from the SNP to have the full report published, a move resisted by council chief executive Paul Jukes.

The SNP have demanded that the “Council instructs the chief executive to publish, without delay and in full, the report by the Head of Audit on North Lanarkshire Leisure, its board, foreign trips and subsidiary companies” and adds “Council instructs the Chief Executive to publish, without delay and in full, the audit report examining allegations of fraud and corruption around aspects of the council’s procurement and contracting arrangements.”

With 33 members out of 76 current councillors, the SNP Group had more than enough numbers to requisition the special meeting but Group leaders will need to persuade Conservative councillors — their support put Logue and the Labour Group into power — not to back Logue at this point if their motions are to be passed.

SNP Depute Leader Councillor Tom Johnston said: “The SNP has not taken this decision lightly but we made a promise to the people who elected us to fight for openness, transparency and accountability within this council.

“North Lanarkshire Council has developed a poor reputation over the years and Councillor Logue’s refusal to step aside is a further example of everything that is wrong in this area.

“I am asking all councillors to support the three items that will go before this special meeting. It is imperative that opposition councillors, and the public as a whole, have the opportunity to see the content of these audit reports. Councillors should also support our motion to remove Councillor Logue as leader in order for this council to save what is left of its reputation.”

The National previously reported that Logue was a target for supporters of the previous Labour regime led by Jim McCabe which itself was embroiled in a corruption scandal.

Sources at North Lanarkshire say the current Labour leadership is furious at the SNP for “being taken in”, as one council source put it, by smears started by former Labour members.

The National has established that if the Council votes to have the audit report published, Labour will not oppose it by other means — “they are confident it shows no trace of criminality whatsoever,” said the source.

Deputy leader Paul Kelly said: “We absolutely welcome the opportunity to talk about the smear campaign against Jim Logue. Jim Logue has spent his political life fighting the type of practices he is now being falsely accused of being involved in. As much as 30 years ago he was exposing those in his own party in Monklands and he instigated the investigation into malpractice in procurement last year.

“No other council leader would risk the challenges of forcing an investigation into anonymous allegations and, as a result, procurement practice has changed completely.

“The truth is that this is a smear instigated by a bitter former Labour councillor and the bandwagon has been jumped on by the SNP. What’s even worse is that the SNP have gone as far as to question the unimpeachable integrity of the council chief executive in their desperation to score points against a Labour leader. That is utterly pathetic.

“Jim Logue is confident that the police will find no case against him but understands that they have to be allowed to look into the complaint, no matter how spurious it is. In the meantime we are focused on delivering great services in the face of outrageous budget cuts from the Scottish Government. He will not be stepping aside.”

A spokesman for North Lanarkshire Council said it “can confirm that a request has been received for a special meeting” and that this issue “will be dealt with in accordance with the council’s standing orders.”