A CONTROVERSIAL Renfrewshire councillor has been banned for 17 months over a series of threats made against political opponents. 

Paul Mack was investigated by the Standards Commission for Scotland after he sent a series of abusive emails to two rival councillors.

In a judgement published last week, they found he had repeatedly breached the Councillors’ Code of Conduct, following a hearing at Renfrewshire House, in Paisley.

One of Councillor Mack’s victims was Scottish Conservative Alistair Mackay, who represents Johnstone South and Elderslie.

Councillor Mackay contacted police over a threatening and abusive email he received on April 24, which also falsely accused him of being drunk or on drugs.

In particular, the email referred to someone going round to his house and inflicting personal harm on him.

Councillor Mackay said he was particularly worried by this threat as the email had been copied to a variety of people, including every other elected member in Renfrewshire. He then alerted Police Scotland as he did not know if someone might take up the invite to attack him in his home.

The Standards Commission found that Councillor Mack’s actions contravened the Code of Conduct.

Their judgement said: “The contents of the email were disrespectful and amounted to harassment.”

An earlier complaint focused on Councillor Mack falsely accusing Labour member Eddie Devine, who represents Paisley South East, of using his influence to get his daughter a council house. This accusation was later found to be groundless.

The Commission also heard how Councillor Devine and his daughter had been offered panic alarms by the police after receiving abusive and threatening emails.

Professor Kevin Dunion, who chaired the Standards Commission hearing, said of both complaints: “The respondent’s behaviour was persistent, deliberate and serious in nature.

“Imposing a sanction of disqualification is not one we have come to lightly but is warranted and necessary to reflect his repeated wilful misconduct.”

Councillor Mack, who also represents Paisley, was unable to attend the hearing on September 10. He said he was self-isolating.

He has previously been suspended in both 2016 and 2017.

Councillor Mack is now banned from council activities until March 2022.