Cllr Macinnes hits back at tram project ‘secrecy’ accusations

Transport Convener Councillor Lesley Macinnes today hit back at suggestions that the Trams to Newhaven project was ‘clouded in secrecy’ (Evening News, 18 April 2019).

She said: “This is deeply regrettable and way off the mark. We have made a huge effort to be as open and transparent as we possibly can be throughout the project so far, and that’s exactly how we plan to go on. Councillors had every opportunity to ask whatever question they wanted of our independent legal adviser when the contracts were considered at Finance and Resources Committee. In addition, they were able to ask questions of the team in the Data Room, which they did, including on the legal position.

“The vast majority of legal spend related to contract-drafting – it’s ludicrous to imply that there’s a hidden cache of legal advice that we’re choosing not to share with councillors.

“It’s worth noting that a similar question to the one asked by Councillor Johnston on 14 March around powers to construct was asked by Cllr Gloyer on 28 February at Transport and Environment and an answer was given. The project team has been happy to provide every piece of legal advice requested by councillors.

“In terms of not making confidential legal advice publicly available, the Council has a duty to protect the public purse – by safeguarding our legal position should any legal challenges arise in the future, we’re doing just that.”

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