A WAR of words has erupted after two East Renfrewshire councillors quit their committee jobs.

Paul Aitken and David Macdonald resigned from their respective positions on the planning, licensing, and scrutiny committees.

Both men insisted they would now focus on devoting more time to their constituents.

But Conservative group leader Stewart Miller slammed the moves and called on Cllr Aitken to fully resign from the council.

He said: “Councillor Aitken previously resigned from the education committee and the audit and scrutiny committee and now he’s stepped down from the planning committee. It means he’s doing absolutely nothing.

“He is taking the money and doing nothing. If he’s not going to do the work then he shouldn’t be there.

“A year ago, there was plenty of councillors, then the Scottish Government reduced it to 18. There is now only going to be 16 councillors left to fill the committees.

“I’m quite annoyed because people now have to do all the work that they are not going to be doing.”

The Tory leader claimed that Cllr Aitken hadn’t attended any community council meetings in Barrhead or Uplawmoor before January.

But Cllr Aitken, who quit the planning committee, denied those claims and criticised Cllr Miller’s leadership of both the audit and scrutiny panel and the Conservative group.

He said: “The main reason I left the audit committee, and indeed the Scottish Conservatives, was the complacent and gutless approach of Cllr Miller.

“Cllr Miller has demonstrated that he is more interested in cosying up to council management than standing up for residents’ interests within his ward.

“I need to prioritise my time and I would far rather spend more time attending parent council meetings in primary schools and community council meetings, as well as spending more time with my constituents in Barrhead and Uplawmoor, rather than sitting in a committee room in Giffnock.”

Cllr Macdonald also took a parting shot at Cllr Miller, criticising his stewardship of the audit and scrutiny committee.

After quitting the audit and scrutiny and licensing committees, he added: “I have found myself very frustrated as a member of audit and scrutiny due to its collective dysfunction as a body whose sole purpose is to question decisions taken by the council.

“It has little motivation to do just that.

“I feel I am a reluctant member of a cheerleading squad rather than member of a team of elected members there to hold a local authority to account.

“On almost every occasion I have been frustrated and shut down by Councillor Miller from raising serious questions and in bringing senior officers before the committee.

“My membership on this committee and my dedication to scrutiny is not being taken seriously. I resigned my membership of both the audit and scrutiny committee and the licensing committee effective immediately.”