Shamed Clydebank councillor Craig Edward can’t be forcefully removed from his West Dunbartonshire Council role – despite being on the sex offenders register.

Last week, the councillor for the Clydebank Central ward pleaded guilty to three sexual offences relating to making, having and distributing indecent images of children.

However, The Clydebank Post can reveal Edward can remain in his £20,000 a year post despite confessing to holding 599 images and 93 videos including one image involving a baby, should he be spared a jail sentence, which is unlikely given it is a first offence.

That’s because no legislation in either the Councillors Code of Conduct - managed by the Standards Commission - or Scottish Government law invokes an automatic termination of role if convicted of this type of offence.

Instead, an automatic disqualification can only be imposed if a custodial sentence of no less than three months is passed on to a councillor convicted of a crime.

It means the hands of West Dunbartonshire bosses are tied if Edward wants to stay in his role even though it was revealed he had fled to England when originally charged.

A WDC spokesperson said: “The council is bound by legislation and will act in accordance with the Local Government (Scotland) Act."

No remit

The Standards Commission is an independent public body responsible for encouraging high standards of behaviour by councillors.

The Councillors' Code of Conduct which they manage applies only when councillors are acting in their capacity as a councillor and, as such, the Standards Commission has no remit over any misconduct that occurs while a councillor is in a private capacity.

However, the wheels of change are already in motion after the Standards Commission raised this very issue with the Scottish Government in June 2021.

They wrote to the Minister for Social Security and Local Government Ben Macpherson noting that while the part of law that relates to this issue - Section 31 of the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973 - reflected sentencing practice in 1973, modern sentencing guidelines discourage the use of custodial sentences of under 12 months.

The Standards Commission feared this could mean a circumstance such as Edward’s could arise, where they are convicted of a crime but fall outwith the current automatic disqualification provisions.


The Scottish Government say they have heeded this advice from the Standards Commission, and they are working to ensure criminals such as Edward can no longer represent hardworking residents.

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “The Scottish Government recognises the importance of building and preserving a society where the rights and freedoms of individuals are respected, and communities can trust their elected representatives.

“Sexual misconduct is a serious issue, which is why the Scottish Government plans to bring forward legislation that would prevent individuals included on the sex offenders register from being councillors.”