Commenting on revelations this afternoon surrounding the £1.4m cost of last year’s week-long trams stand-off - in which Labour and Tory Councillors tried to cut the entire city centre section of the tram route - SNP MSP Colin Keir has accused Labour of trying to ‘rewrite history.’

Councillor Lesley Hinds’ call for a halt the tram route at Haymarket led to soaring costs that the department she is in charge of now has to meet.

The Labour party was backed by the Tories and forced through a council vote to cut the entire city centre section of the route, in a move that was designed to embarrass the then SNP-Lib Dem administration - but was reversed only days later.

Ms Hinds has today claimed that Labour “spent hours agonising over whether to vote for Haymarket or back the Liberal Democrats and borrow millions of pounds to take it to St Andrew Square.” However, in truth the Labour group were ready to ditch the City Centre route almost up until the last minute, switching their position only 15 minutes before the vote.

Today it has been revealed that – as a consequence of the delay - the city’s transport department has been landed with a tab for nearly £1.4m, with contractors halting work when initial announcement was made.

Colin Keir, SNP MSP for Edinburgh West and an Edinburgh Councillor at the time of the vote, said:

“We were well aware of the implications of this decision by Labour and the Tories, so it is inconceivable that Lesley Hinds and her Labour colleagues could not have been.

“It’s all very well having an occasional political bun fight, but it has to be kept in mind that it is the Edinburgh taxpayers who are paying for this.

"Labour and the Conservatives were playing stupid politics here and frankly there was no business case for Haymarket. It’s enough having half a tram line for £800m, let alone for one that leaves you having to get a bus from Haymarket to the city centre.

“It is simply not credible for Lesley Hinds to try and claim that Labour agonised over this decision, when we all know that they only changed their mind with 15 minutes to go. Their ‘tramnesia’ will not fool Edinburgh voters.

"Like so many of Labour’s actions, this is was just political posturing, but they have left the people of Edinburgh to pick up the tab.

“This is one of the many issues which will be looked at when the full inquiry takes place into this trams debacle.”


Notes: for details see reports in this afternoon’s Evening News

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