Councillors clash over Newcastleton expense claim

TWO Hawick councillors have become embroiled in a war of word of expenses, writes Kenny Paterson.

David Paterson believes his Conservative colleague George Turnbull was wrong to claim back full travelling costs for a journey to Newcastleton, after turning up at the end of the community council’s December meeting.

But Mr Turnbull has hit back, saying he has never claimed mileage for any meeting within Hawick, unlike Mr Paterson, executive member for environmental services.

Mr Turnbull told TheSouthern: “I told the community council I would be running late but they managed to get through the agenda quicker than they expected. But I stayed on afterwards.

“I am a wee bit disappointed Davie has taken the moral high ground on this one. To me, it is double standards.

“He has claimed expenses on community council meetings in Hawick for long enough. I have never claimed for any meeting in Hawick.

“As a portfolio holder, he is either right on top of his job, or has too much time on his hands.”

Independent Councillor Paterson said he initially received a complaint from a Newcastleton constituent about Councillor Turnbull’s expenses claim, but was told by SBC his Hawick and Hermitage ward colleague had done nothing illegal.

Councillor Paterson added: “To come to a meeting when it had ended and still be allowed to claim mileage is in my opinion morally bankrupt.

“George’s argument to this is that I have claimed mileage for attending a community council meeting in Hawick – I would have to counter that and say at least I was there.”

It is believed Mr Turnbull’s expenses claim totals £18, based on the 40 mile-round journey from Hawick to Newcastleton at 45 pence per mile.

Both councillors were due to attend Tuesday’s meeting of Newcastleton Community Council, alongside fellow Hawick and Hermitage councillor Ron Smith.