THE person who leaked council plans to buy the Chivas site has been labelled a “snitch” and told they should be ashamed of themselves, writes Jack Thomson

Councillors have blasted the individual who revealed the contents of an exempt report, which confirmed local authority chiefs wanted to purchase the land in Paisley.

They were accused of showing “spite” and being “mean-spirited” by one councillor, while another claimed the information was “not in the public interest”. 

READ MORE: Renfrewshire Council looking to buy Chivas Brothers site in Paisley

“We have to distinguish between a whistle-blower and – forgive me for lapsing into the colloquial – a snitch,” Councillor Paul Mack said at full council. 

“A whistle-blower, there is a certain amount of self-sacrifice and defence of public interest. What we witnessed in this incidence… was driven entirely for self-benefit and self-preferment. 

“Nothing else, spite and mean-spirited.”

A motion passed at the meeting, which vowed to “name, shame and censure councillors who release or impart information” that has exempt status.

Councillor Mack added: “We have an opportunity here to show the Standards Commission, who are not worthy of the name, we censure our own. 

The Gazette: Cllr Cameron compared the leak to that allegedly made by Gavin WilliamsonCllr Cameron compared the leak to that allegedly made by Gavin Williamson

“Do it with fairness and upholding the principles of natural justice, which they don’t seem to do. What happened here is tantamount to being criminal.”

Councillor Jacqueline Cameron compared the situation to the sacking of defence secretary Gavin Williamson, who has denied leaking information from the National Security Council. 

Councillor Cameron said: “I was really dismayed to find that the paper on Chivas had been leaked to the paper. 

“I agree with Councillor Mack that the motive was personal or political. It certainly wasn’t representing the people of Renfrewshire and that’s what we’re here to do. 

“Specifically there were figures mentioned in the Chivas paper, which it’s yet to be seen how damaging that’s been to Renfrewshire. It’s not in the public interest. 

“We’ve just seen a defence secretary sacked for leaking information and there was a suggestion that could be a criminal act. 

“We have to think about that and we have to take it very seriously about how damaging leaks are to this council.”

In April, the council’s chief executive Sandra Black fired a stern warning to councillors in an attempt to plug the leak of exempt reports. 

READ MORE: Homes set to be built on ‘eyesore’ Renfrewshire site after £5m sale agreed

She said: “The release of information contained in exempt reports is a serious matter. 

“The Council only seeks to have reports listed as exempt in very limited circumstances where there are legitimate concerns that the release of details concerning the subject matter of the report could cause significant prejudice to the Council or to another party.”

However, the caution – which had been made via email – was then leaked to the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

Read all the latest from Renfrewshire and beyond